West of England Premier League
Premier 1
Downend 137 beat Bridgwater 135 by 2 runs

BRIDGWATER concluded their league campaign with the closest of games at Downend, where the home side were eventually victorious by two runs in a game Bridgwater should have won, writes Scott Sealey.

The defeat concludes a poor final third of the season that ends in a fifth-placed finish, but one must not forget the brilliant first two thirds of the season which saw Bridgwater genuinely challenge for the title for the first time since 2012.

Skipper Andy Hallaran won the toss and inserted Downend, but rain delayed the start for an hour and a half, which saw the game reduced to 37 overs a side.

Chris Singleton (3-16) started brightly from the pavilion end and picked up three wickets in an initial four-over burst, reducing the home side to 37-3.

Atif Qureshi (38) batted aggressively and saw the scoring rate rattle along, as he and Daniel Semple (19) added 49 in a bright partnership, before Max Waller removed the latter lbw.

Wickets then fell at regular intervals as Waller (3-27) and Scott Clapp (2-26) reduced Downend to 114-8, a position they couldn’t recover from as they were all out for 137 in only 27.4 overs.

After tea, Downend’s opening attack of Matt Jackson and Bobby Naeem bowled tightly as Hallaran and Chris Skidmore both fell early, reducing Bridgwater to 18-2.

This brought Clapp to the wicket and he continued his good form with an aggressive 34, as he and Tom Bellinger (8) took the score to 69.

However, the visitors then lost five wickets for only 11 runs as the game swung back in Downend’s favour, with Bridgwater’s batting frailty of the past six weeks showing up once more.

Singleton and Ned Leonard resisted the onslaught, and with Downend’s key bowlers now bowled out, set about inching their side to the victory target in an intelligent partnership.

At 122-7 and overs in hand Bridgwater were back in the ascendancy but the game had a further twist as Leonard (20) fell and, with 10 required from two overs, Andrew Skidmore was trapped lbw, bringing last man Richard Eckley to the wicket to join Singleton.

The pair inched Bridgwater to the target, and six required off the final over became two to tie from the final ball but, with Singleton hit in the box and unable to run, Bridgwater fell two runs short.

The 2019 season has brought many ups and downs at The Parks but a fifth-placed finish, despite the number of bad injuries suffered across the playing squad, should be celebrated, with the defeat at Bath back in July the turning point.

The club wishes to thank all their sponsors, vice-presidents and supporters who have once again provided support that is second to none in the WEPL, and particular thanks to all the volunteers who continue to make the club a thriving hub of the town.

Special thanks go to main sponsor PAW Engineering LTD, match ball sponsor TMB Patterns Ltd, travel sponsors Charles Dickens Estate Agents and Falcon Vehicle Solutions Ltd, and senior player sponsor Mark Cummins and Dean Motors.


WEPL Somerset Division
Bridgwater 2nds 106-1 beat Minehead 105 by 9 wkts

BRIDGWATER 2nds secured a fourth-placed finish in WEPL’s Somerset Division with a convincing final day victory over Minehead at The Parks.

The hosts opted to bowl first and made the perfect start, Ian Higgins trapping Ian Buchanan in front without scoring.

Freddie Wilson and Dan Bowditch steadied the ship, adding 58 for the second wicket, before Higgins (2-18) struck again to see the back of Wilson (18).

When Bowditch was run out for 41 soon afterwards, Minehead collapsed at the hands of Callum Pope (4-26), Seth Locke (2-31) and Matt Habberfield (1-4), who combined to take the last seven visiting wickets for 42 runs.

Bridgwater openers Kieran Windsor and Liam Kitch did not hang around in reply, breezing past 50 in the eighth over.

Kitch reached his own half century from 40 balls before he fell lbw to Bowditch with the score on 89.

That was the only wicket to fall, however, as Windsor (40no) was joined by Pope to see the hosts over the line in the 17th over.