West of England Premier League
Premier 1
Bridgwater 284-8 beat Downend 67 by 217 runs

BRIDGWATER produced another fine display in front of their home supporters on Saturday, delivering an emphatic home win against Bristol-based side Downend, writes Scott Sealey.

The victory was orchestrated by skipper Andrew Hallaran, who led from the front with a scintillating century off 102 balls, showing awesome timing in a classy display.

On winning the toss, Hallaran had no hesitation in choosing to bat first on a baking hot afternoon, and he and Liam Kitch got the home side off to a good start with a half-century stand in quick time.

Gloucestershire’s Callum Gregory then fought back for the visitors, taking the wickets of Kitch (8) and Calum Haggett (1) to leave Bridgwater 57-2 and in need of a partnership.

Jason Oakes obliged, with Hallaran continuing to dominate as Oakes settled in at the wicket.

Hallaran batted as well as any player at the Parks this season and the Downend attack had no answer to his assault, although visiting captain Matthew Jackson was able to control the run rate with his medium pace.

With Oakes beginning to accelerate, Downend looked to be on the end of huge total, but the very next ball from getting to his century saw Hallaran dismissed, caught at fine leg from Hamdi Saleem.

Hallaran’s fine innings of exactly 100 included 14 fours and four sixes, and at 153-3 had set the home side up for a big score.

Steve Davis then joined Oakes and after a period of consolidation put bat to ball, accelerating the innings at the right time with some classy strokes.

Oakes made his first half-century of the season on a wicket that was offering some assistance to the bowlers, but he also fell to the very next ball he faced, which brought debutant Will Moyse to the wicket.

Moyse immediately got into his stride as Bridgwater chased quick runs in the final 10 overs.

The fall of Davis (33) allowed Chris Skidmore (17) to push the score along with Moyse (23), and when wickets started to fall it was left to Chris Singleton (16no) to steer the home side to a competitive 284-8.

Gregory was the most successful Downend bowler, though his spell of 4-74 was expensive; Brandon Gilmour claimed 3-50.

After tea, Bridgwater’s opening attack of Chris Skidmore and Ian Higgins immediately settled into their line and lengths, putting pressure on the Downend openers. Skidmore picked up the first wicket when Daniel Semple (1) miscued to Andrew Skidmore at cover point, and Higgins put Bridgwater well and truly on top by dismissing Gloucestershire opener Miles Hammond (18) and the dangerous Gilmour (0) within the same over, with the visitors falling to 21-3.

Chris Skidmore and Higgins were in no mood to let Downend off the hook, and this soon became 56-7 as the visitors were blown away, not helped by some loose shots.

Andrew Skidmore (3-3 off 0.5 overs) was brought into the attack and he picked up the final three wickets, aided by two stumpings from Oakes, after Higgins (3-25 off 10) and Chris Skidmore (4-36 off 10) had done the major damage.

It meant that Downend were all out for just 67, from 20.5 overs, leaving them 217 runs adrift of the Bridgwater total.

Match sponsors: Kellaway Building Supplies; match ball sponsors: TMB Patterns Ltd

This coming Saturday sees Bridgwater at home again, this time hosting second-bottom Bristol.

Bridgwater sit third in the standings, 10 points behind leaders Bath and five off second-placed Potterne.

Before that, on Wednesday, Bridgwater’s 1st XI host Wellington in the Somerset Cricket Board’s Major Cup quarter-final.

The match is scheduled to start at 6.15pm.