WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset

Taunton Deane 263-8 beat Shapwick & Polden 254 by 9 runs

TAUNTON Deane were given a scare by bottom club Shapwick & Polden but managed to eke out a victory which keeps them top of Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset.

The hosts batted first at the Convent Field and Harry Thomas was the bedrock of their innings.

Having come in with the Deane in a spot of bother at 20-2, Thomas added 68 with skipper Rob Woodman (32).

Calvin Harrison (22) and Harry Smith (13) made starts before the next pivotal stand, worth 69 for the sixth wicket between Thomas and Jamie Stephens (41).

Thomas progressed to 93 but, with a third ton of the season in sight, he was caught off Wayne Spencer to leave the hosts 233-7.

Tom Hand (23 off 21) helped take the Deane up to 263-8 but Shapwick flew out the traps in reply, passing 50 in the fifth over as Steve Tinnion teed off.

The opener reached his half century from 31 balls but Stephens (3-30 off 10) took two wickets in two balls to halt the momentum.

Hall took the key wicket of Tinnion, who had blasted 14 fours and four sixes in his 58-ball 97, to leave Shapwick 131-4.

Useful contributions from John Stratton (22) and Sean Stringer (27) edged them closer but both fell to Tenessee Harlow (3-35 off eight) and the Deane were strong favourites at 220-9.

A valiant last-wicket stand kept nerves jangling, however, as Steve Coppell and Ben Rudge refused to give in.

They added 34 but, with 10 needed from nine balls, Rudge was run out for 16 to hand the Deane a narrow win.

On Saturday, the leaders travel to North Perrott.

WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset

Winterbourne 304-3 beat Taunton 185 by 119 runs

The old adage ‘catches win matches’ rang all too true for Taunton on Saturday as promotion-chasing Winterbourne ran out winners at the Vale.

Faced with a good batting track, Winterbourne unsurprisingly elected to make first use of it upon winning the toss and saw Ben Slade and George Ford add 114 for the opening wicket.

Max Toohey’s spin brought the breakthrough, the youngster finding his way through the defences of Slade (45), but Ford continued on his merry way with more than a slice of good fortune.

Having been dropped twice before he reached 50, the visiting skipper was put down twice more soon after reaching the landmark and went on to three figures during a 140-run stand with Chris Kislingbury (88).

Taunton’s bowlers stuck at their task admirably, James Hayes (1-57) dismissing Kislingbury before Ford was eventually caught off Will Easterfield (1-41) having made 111, but Sam Bracey’s 23 not out from 12 balls took Winterbourne past 300.

Jesse Vertonghen played his shots at the top of the order in reply before he was stumped for 40, leaving Taunton’s reply on 74-3.

That sparked a middle order collapse and, from 101-8, the game was up.

Will Abell continued his fine recent form, showcasing his inventive array of shots in making 79 from 65 balls with nine fours and two sixes, until he was the last man out with the score on 185.

Taunton captain Hugh Kelly said: “It was the best track we have played on all season but we didn’t help ourselves.

“The four drops were not particularly difficult chances and it was as if all our fielding mistakes for the season had arrived in one game.

“We bowled well, a lot tighter than we often are, and they batted nicely.

“We still felt 300 was achievable on that wicket but a few of our top order got out trying to force the issue.

“Will [Abell] is arguably in the form of his life at the moment and played superbly but by then it was too late.

“With a young team like ours, it feels like we either win or get thumped.

“But we have five games left and I see no reason we can’t go unbeaten between now and the end of the season.”

Taunton are due to be unchanged for Saturday’s home match with Bishopston, with Kelly set to continue playing through the pain barrier - he broke his finger in attempting to stop a crunching Tom Banton pull shot during last week’s Baker Cup final.

WEPL Somerset Division

Taunton Deane 2nds 230-6 beat Bridgwater 2nds 226-8 by 4 wkts

TAUNTON Deane 2nds’ captain Russell Jones blasted an unbeaten 69 from just 34 balls to seal a dramatic win over Bridgwater 2nds which breathes new life into the Deane’s survival hopes.

Bridgwater batted first and, led by Stuart Butt’s unbeaten 100, finished on 226-8 with Edward Mellor taking 4-43 for the Deane.

In reply, opener Sam Loud hit 78 before falling with the score on 132-5.

Jones and Ali Warren (43) added 69 for the third wicket and Jones carried on to see his side home, hitting five fours and seven sixes in his match-winning knock.

The Deane remain bottom but have plenty of sides within reach in a close division - next up is the visit of Yeovil on Saturday (12.30pm).

Chard hit for six by Beal

WEPL Somerset Division

Wellington 253-5 beat Chard 249-7 by 5 wkts

WELLINGTON’s Jack Beal smashed five sixes as his side chased down second-placed Chard’s challenging score with seven balls to spare, writes David Derrick.

Chard’s innings was master-minded by opener Reid Mawdsley, who carried his bat for 121.

It was his knock alone which carried his side to their total as their score had dipped to 130-6 after Jack Beal, Neil Hendy and Arron Campbell each took two wickets.

Only one more fell as 119 runs were added by Mawdsley and Chris Scott, who cracked 54 in 49 balls and, latterly, Chard keeper Nathan Warren.

Wellington started their chase with a wicket lost on four but Tom Chambers and Sam Whitefield got the score near the half-century mark with Chambers making 19.

From then on, excellent contributions from all batters saw Wellington close in on and, ultimately, surpass the Chard total as Arron Campbell led the way with 60.

Sam Whitefield made 32, Thom Trott contributed 17, Ben Evett scored 27 and Jack Beal hit five sixes in his 49.

The deal was sealed by Rob Moysey and Ollie Wilkins, with 7 no and 21no, respectively.

Wellington took 19 points for their efforts in a game which saw the season’s sponsors’ lunch take place and what good entertainment was on offer for those who have invested in the club for 2019.

On Saturday, Wellington travel to Street.

WEPL Somerset Division

Minehead 134 beat Street 128 by 6 runs

MINEHEAD hosted Street on Saturday, looking for a fourth consecutive win.

Street have been struggling, and looked to be up against it again as Minehead got off to a flyer after winning the toss.

Ian Buchanan (24) and Angus Marsh (18) had reached 50 for no loss inside eight overs as the new ball came on to the bat nicely.

They both departed with the score on 52, and this brought about a mini-collapse, as the Street bowlers turned to medium pace and spin.

Daniel Godfrey (8), Phil Barraclough (10), Dan Bowditch (13) and Archie Marsh (17) all made promising starts before finding ways of getting out.

The score read 96-5 when Bowditch departed and, suddenly, a score of 180-200 looked the target.

But the Street attack blew away the lower order. Matt Sully (9) stuck around for a while but never found a partner in his 25-ball stay, leaving Minehead disappointingly 134 all out.

The hosts had 12 overs to bowl prior to the scheduled tea break, picked themselves up and used the opportunity to make some early inroads.

Openers Ellis Taylor and Buchanan failed to make a breakthrough but the introduction of Darren Sherring and Gary Archer early reaped rewards.

Archer had Matt Holland (10) plumb lbw in his first over, Sherring had Daniel Lake edging behind second ball and when Archer removed Josh Kelly (12) on the stroke of tea, the game was well and truly alive at 27-3.

It was all to play for in the second half of an usually low scoring game at Minehead.

Street hit back as Jack Western smashed the ball to all parts after the break and, in three overs immediately after tea, Street had piled on 31 runs and reached 67-3.

But Minehead didn’t give up; Archer picked up his third as Barraclough held another catch to dismiss Scott Reed (8), and Sherring crucially removed Western (32) in the following over thanks to a smart catch from Bowditch in the gully.

Bowditch kept things tight his end as Sherring took two more wickets to leave Street in deep trouble at 85-7.

Victory looked likely but the celebrations were put on hold as Mike King and Andrew Bartlett batted sensibly.

Bartlett looked to stonewall everything while King began to play his shots – and, in the blink of an eye, the away side required just 14 runs with three wickets in hand.

Barraclough had one last trick up his sleeve, though, as he gave Ellis Taylor the ball from the top end.

The tall paceman struck with just his third delivery, as Bartlett (5) thrashed at a ball outside off-stump and Bowditch took a stunner of a catch in the gully to give Minehead a glimmer of hope.

This glimmer became a full beaming ray of hope when Taylor sent Michael Higgs’ off-stump cartwheeling the very next ball to leave Street nine down, still requiring 14 .

King was still there, though, and he and Liam Ward took the victory target to just seven runs.

But mid-way through the 38th over, Taylor was the hero as he forced King (28) to edge behind, pouched by Buchanan at first slip, to see Minehead win by six runs.

Mr & Mrs SE Man of the Match: Darren Sherring

Minehead now sit in fourth in the table, a position they could have only dreamed of four weeks ago.

A win this week against North Petherton could see them climb to the dizzy heights of second.

The Minehead wicket was awarded the maximum 20 points by the umpires in the previous home game against Frome.

This was the first time the prestigious mark has been awarded to a Somerset club all season, and just the third occasion it has occurred in the entire West of England Premier League in 2019 in over 420 matches.

Huge credit goes to groundsman Stuart Tudball and his team.