West of England Premier League
Premier 1
Bridgwater 168-4 beat Chippenham 167-9 by 6 wkts

BRIDGWATER maintained their fine form in 2021 and closed the gap to leaders Clevedon to six points, with a convincing six-wicket win at Chippenham, writes Scott Sealey.

The visitors’ best bowling and fielding display of the season was the catalyst for setting up a comfortable win, with Tom Lace’s aggressive half-century taking the game away from the home side.

Stuart Butt won an important toss given the rain that fell on Wiltshire on Friday, and Mike Coles, Chris Singleton and Tom Allcoat kept a check on the initial run scoring, with Chippenham bringing up their 50 in the 17th over.

Max Toohey’s left-arm spin provided the breakthrough, as he bowled Chris Munden for 35 with the score on 68, but Oliver Price (62) continued to bat well, mixing sweeps and drives in a good innings.

The introduction of Calum Haggett, in tandem with Toohey, turned the screw for Bridgwater as he was to bowl his best spell of the season and the visitors started to pick up wickets at regular intervals.

With Alex Eckland in superb form behind the stumps - a magnificent stumping of Sri Lankan Adeesha Nanayakkara a feature of the impressive Bridgwater fielding display - Chippenham slumped from 105-1 to 129-5, with Scott Clapp (1-16) bowling the dangerous Ralph Hardwick (5).

This spell put Bridgwater in the ascendancy and, with Toohey (3-50) finishing another excellent spell, the returning Singleton (2-28) and impressive Haggett (3-18) were in no mood to let the home side back into the game, as they eventually concluded their 45 overs at 167-9.

After tea Bridgwater lost Andy Hallaran for a duck, but Chris Skidmore - playing as a batsman due to injury - and Gloucestershire professional Lace put bat to ball in aggressive partnership of 70 in 10 overs, putting the visitors in cruise control.

Skidmore’s dismissal for a well-made 30 saw Haggett (10) and Lace add another 30 to bring up the hundred for Bridgwater.

Unexpectedly, a slight wobble saw Haggett and Lace (56 from 50 balls) depart and the visitors fall to 101-4, however Eckland (25*) and Butt (23*) dug in for a few overs to stabilise the position.

This partnership blossomed as the batsmen built an effective undefeated partnership of 67, to take Bridgwater to a six-wicket win.

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With Clevedon’s match at Cheltenham being cancelled, it means there are just six points between the division’s top two sides.

This coming Saturday sees Bridgwater at home to Bath (12.30pm), and on Sunday they travel to Callington in Cornwall, for the area final of the National Club Championship.

A club supporters coach is travelling to Cornwall, with spaces still available.


BRIDGWATER 2nd XI picked up an impressive result in the WEPL Somerset Division, winning by eight wickets at home to Taunton.

The visitors were all out for 122 (Dan Quick 27), as Ian Higgins claimed 4-19 and Ed Habberfield 3-32.

Jonathan Vickery (54*) and Stuart Watson (32*) steered Bridgwater to victory, and this Saturday sees them visit Taunton St Andrews 2nds.


Bridgwater Mercury:

DELIVERY: Bridgwater's Tilly Bond (pic: Steve Richardson)

GEORGIA Tulip took 2-25, Bernie Forge 2-22 and Tilly Bond 1-23 as Bridgwater Women limited Briton Ferry Steel to 154-7 at The Parks on Sunday.

Forge (79*) then led the way as Bridgwater cruised to a nine-wicket win in the South West Women's Regional Premier League.

Next up for Bridgwater is another home match, this time against Bath, this coming Sunday.