THERE is huge anticipation at Bridgwater Cricket Club, with the West of England Premier League and Somerset Cricket League set for full seasons after a Covid-disrupted 2020, writes Scott Sealey.

The pre-season programme began on April 10, with a behind-closed-doors fixture at The Parks against Shapwick & Polden, which Bridgwater won by 65 runs.

The hosts totalled a competitive 245-4, with a second-wicket stand of 135 between Andrew Hallaran (85) and Calum Haggett (63 retired) setting the platform.

In response Shapwick were dismissed for 180, having been 107-8, Haggett leading the way with 5-19.

Last Saturday saw Bridgwater travel to Taunton CC and triumph by 43 runs, having posted 251-8.

The away side stuttered to 63-5 and were indebted to Tom Allcoat, who delivered a superb 105* from only 80 balls, sharing stands with Mike Coles (34) and Chris Skidmore (36*).

In reply Taunton managed 208-6, with Chris Singleton and Scott Clapp picking up two wickets apiece, and Haggett 1-12 from eight overs.

At The Parks, the 3rd XI beat Taunton 2nd XI by 30 runs in a high-scoring game that saw 500 runs scored.

There were half-centuries for James Salt, Dominic Court and Kyran Devitt in the Bridgwater innings, and when Taunton batted new signing Harry Bennie claimed six wickets with his left-arm seam.

This games saw the introduction of hospitality, with Bridgwater trialling new table service protocols which are a requirement under the latest Covid-19 hospitality guidance.

These guidelines will remain until at least May 17, with the clubhouse out of bounds apart from the use of toilet facilities.

On the playing side, all the existing squad remain at The Parks with the exception of Max Waller, who will be playing his club cricket in Cornwall.

The club is very excited to welcome back former captain Mike Coles for his final swansong in club cricket, and he will add valuable experience to the existing group of talent.

Also returning to the club is Tom Lace, now a professional at Gloucestershire CCC, which has enabled him to return to Bridgwater for his club cricket after playing for the club in 2016 and 2017.

George Bartlett remains as Bridgwater’s Somerset professional, with Will Smeed and Ned Leonard now joining him on the professional roster at The Parks having graduated to full contracts from the Somerset Academy.

The four senior captains from 2020 remain in post, and the club wishes Stuart Butt, Ally Witts, Timmy Netto and Matt Eckley the best of luck.

The women’s XI will continue in the South West Premier League, led by Tilly Bond and Laura Gibson, with Stuart Butt as head coach.

There is also a new head groundsman at The Parks - Rob Hake, who has nearly 20 years’ experience as a full-time groundsman at Somerset CCC.

Hake will be assisted by Andy Higgins and a team of volunteers.

The club has completed a kitchen extension in the winter, with a new full industrial kitchen now ready for use.

This was largely funded by Viridor Credits Ltd (with Mark Rose securing most of the grant funding), and will be operational in the coming weeks, with its purpose being to serve hot food on a match day.

As previously advised, Charles Dickens Estate Agents will be the club’s new main sponsor from 2021, while PAW Engineering Ltd, TMB Patterns Ltd, Dean Motors and G Works Construction Ltd continue their commitment; H Biffen and Sons Ltd and Howdens Bridgwater have also come on board.

Bridgwater conclude pre-season with a 1st XI fixture away to Sidmouth and a 2nd XI game at home to Uphill Castle (12.30pm), this coming Saturday.

The league season is set to kick off on Saturday, May 1, with the 1st XI away to Potterne in WEPL Premier 1, the 2nds at home to Wellington in the WEPL Somerset Division, the 3rd XI hosting Ilminster 2nds in Division 2 of the Somerset League, and Bridgwater Pointers visiting Weston-super-Mare 3rds in Division 5.


WEMBDON continued their pre-season schedule with a trip to North Perrott on Saturday.

The visitors batted first, and openers Tom Lott (25) and Russell Peck (10) made a steady start in reaching 55-1, before Perrott fought back to reduce them to 85-4 and then 122-7.

Dan Bingham (37) and Harry Woolway (27*) stemmed the flow of wickets, however, and Wembdon were able to post a competitive 204-9 from 45 overs.

The hosts made a nightmare start to their innings, with a double wicket maiden from Jonathan Brockwell (2-14) helping reduce them to 19-4 in the fourth over.

Sam Rowswell (35) and Charlie Male (58) rebuilt, taking the score past 100, before the visitors ended their 17-over wait for another wicket when Bingham (2-41) bowled Rowswell.

The same bowler accounted for Male, at 131-6, before Sam Puddy (3-27) ran through the tail to hand Wembdon a 29-run win.

Wembdon host Weston-super-Mare this Saturday.