West of England Premier League
Premier 1
Bath 212 beat Bridgwater 205-9 by 7 runs

BRIDGWATER’S four-match winning run came to end in frustrating circumstances at Bath on Saturday, as the visitors fell just seven runs short.

The game was a superb advert for West of England Premier League cricket, with two top sides going at it hammer and tongs for 100 overs and very little to choose between them.

Bath surprisingly chose to bat first on a green looking pitch and Bridgwater’s lively opening attack of Chris Skidmore (2-38) and Ned Leonard (3-41) were immediately making life difficult for the hosts.

Leonard got the early breakthrough when Ben Ackland fenced at a bouncing delivery and edged behind to a diving Jason Oakes, and the South African wicket-keeper was to follow up with an exceptional diving catch down the legside to assist Skidmore in dismissing Kiwi professional Greg Hay.

Scott Clapp (3-51), on his 30th birthday, then produced a fine spell of seam bowling to clean up both Ben Wells and Somerset professional Tim Rouse to reduce the hosts to 56-4.

The Bath recovery was led by Sam Mount and Paul Muchall, who put on 78 before Calum Haggett (1-21) bowled Mount (51).

The return of Clapp also accounted for Tom Hankins, but Muchall (53) was able to drop anchor and shepherd Bath to 212.

After tea, skipper Andrew Hallaran and Clapp got Bridgwater off to an excellent start as Gloucestershire’s Harry Hankins and Muchall tore in.

Hallaran was in sublime form and the faster the delivery the quicker it was dispatched to the boundary; he looked like he was playing on a different wicket to all that had gone before him.

With Muchall ramping up the pace this was a brilliant passage of play, but controversy would seep into the contest which would prove crucial later in the day.

A huge appeal from Muchall against Hallaran was turned down, but when the ball deflected to the boundary for what seemed a standard four leg byes, the umpire did not signal the four extras.

The opening stand was to end in cruel circumstances as a rasping drive from Clapp was tipped on to the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Hallaran (26) stranded, and worse was to follow as Clapp (25) and Haggett (0) were both adjudged lbw to make it 58-3.

Oakes and Stu Butt rebuilt and at drinks Bridgwater were still well placed at 86-3.

Their stand would extend to 65 before Butt (31) fell to the returning Hankins.

A breezy cameo from Steve Davis (9) kept the momentum with the visitors, as Oakes accumulated all around the wicket in his best innings for Bridgwater, reaching 50 from 76 balls.

Young Will Moyse (9) did well in a high-pressure situation, adding a further 28 with Oakes, and the introduction of big hitting Chris Skidmore (21) looked to be shifting the game in Bridgwater’s favour as two maximums left 16 runs needed from 19 balls.

The dismissal of Skidmore to a catch in the deep kept things interesting, and the returning Muchall would use all his experience to only go for six off his two overs, as a direct hit to run out Oakes (63) ended Bridgwater’s challenge seven runs adrift.

Third-placed Bridgwater are 10 points off leaders Potterne, and they host Cheltenham this Saturday (12.30pm).


SCB Major Cup semi-final
North Perrott 116-5 beat Bridgwater 114-7 by 5 wkts

A VERY frustrating weekend for Bridgwater continued as a defeat by the narrowest of margins at North Perrott saw them out of the SCB Major Cup for yet another season.

The hosts chose to bowl first on a very slow pitch and Bridgwater found runs hard to come by, as the lack of pace of all the home sides bowlers suited conditions perfectly.

Merv Hallaran (28) started brightly but was caught behind chasing a very wide one and only Jason Oakes (30) and Chris Singleton (15no) with his sides only six, seemed able to work the ball into the right areas for run scoring.

Stacy Hawes (3-24) and Alfie Ogbourne (2-36) were the pick of the bowlers aided by a good fielding display.

Defending such a low score would be very difficult but Max Waller (1-17) took a wicket in his first over.

That brought in the hard-hitting Australian Jack Henderson (39) to join Dorset opener Alex Eckland, who scored a well paced 60 as the pair compiled a 108-run partnership to put the home side in the driving seat.

The visitors battled hard with no luck and it was down to seven needed off the last over from Chris Skidmore (2-25), who trapped Eckland before bowling the next man.

A single was scored, then a brilliant run out from ‘keeper Oakes meant three wickets had fallen in the over before two no balls were unfortunately conceded.

It came down to two runs needed off the last ball and an improvised boundary from Whorlow squeezed his side home in what had been a very tense finish.

North Newton had better luck in their cup semi-final, beating Long Sutton by four wickets in the Intermediate Cup.

Cameron Street took two wickets and pulled off two run outs as Long Sutton were restricted to 134-9.

Tom Williams (31) and Street (28) laid the foundations before James Stone (14*) and Jack Sellick (12*) saw the Newts into the final, which will be at the County Ground on Sunday, August 4.


WEPL Somerset
Bridgwater 2nds 184 beat Street 174 by 10 runs

SETH Locke took five wickets as Bridgwater 2nds edged past Street at The Parks.

James Duckering (41) and Kieran Windsor (25) contributed valuable runs down the order to push the hosts from 106-7 to 184 all out.

Locke then tore through the middle order in reply, finishing with 5-18 from seven overs, while Daniel Rossiter took 2-7 from 10.

A run out sealed victory for Bridgwater with 2.2 overs to spare, with Street 10 runs adrift.

Bridgwater make the short trip to North Petherton on Saturday.