WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset

Taunton 216-4 beat Shapwick & Polden 215 by 6 wkts

WILL Abell and Hugh Kelly steered Taunton to victory in their must-win clash against Shapwick & Polden on Saturday.

The two sides occupied the bottom two places in the division going into the match and the visitors elected to bat upon winning the toss on what Taunton skipper Kelly called “a classic Vale track”.

George Rowe claimed two early wickets with the score on 24 but Shapwick’s overseas player James Venkatrao (59) proved harder to dislodge.

He was the fifth wicket to fall, caught off the bowling of James Clark as he and spin twin Max Toohey put the squeeze on, each finishing with 1-25 from 10 overs.

Will Mason (41) and Ben Rudge (26) helped Shapwick up to 215, with Rowe picking up two late scalps to finish with 4-58 - his new ball partner James Hayes (2-35 off 10) also bowled well.

Taunton’s top order each made starts in reply but the reply was delicately poised at 95-4 when Abell and Kelly came together.

The pair played sensibly before accelerating as the target came down, Abell finishing unbeaten on 68 from 69 balls (14 fours) and Kelly making 40 not out from 62 deliveries.

Kelly said: “It was a really important result and the sides around us didn’t pick up many points either, which was helpful.

“James Hayes bowled nicely up top and our spinners were brilliant.

“They really restricted Shapwick and helped put on pressure, which led to opportunities for wickets.

“It did feel in the balance when Will and I came together and we knew if we lost one more wicket we would be in a bit of trouble.

“It was pleasing to get it won without too much drama.”

Taunton head to Weston-super-Mare on Saturday boosted by a new addition, 15-year-old Millfield pupil Adam Rosslee, who made 15 at number three on his debut at the weekend.