BRIDGWATER made it a hat-trick of Premier One wins with a fine performance against title challengers Potterne at the Parks, led by Somerset’s George Bartlett’s superb 163 in a 72 run victory.

Bartlett’s fine innings came from only 139 balls with 20 fours and 6 sixes, as the home side recovered from the early losses of Andrew Hallaran and Charlie Sharland after choosing to bat first.

With the Parks looking an absolute picture, thanks to the fabulous work of Groundmen Rob Hake and Andrew Higgins, the visitors started brightly with the ball as both openers were caught edging behind.

Bartlett looked in ominous form from the start and in no trouble whatsoever with some crisp drives through the covers and mid-wicket being a feature of his innings. Alex Eckland joined Bartlett at 11 for 2, and once again played an excellent innings supporting Bartlett to repair the early damage and wrestle the initiative from the visitors.

Eckland was more watchful than his partner, with Bartlett taking the game to all the Potterne bowlers even though the wicket gave the three visiting spinners some assistance.

The 3rd wicket partnership was worth 171 when Eckland was caught at long leg for an extremely crucial 64 from 113 balls, including seven fours. With Coles falling first ball, Chris Skidmore entered the fray with 10 overs to go, and he and Bartlett were to entertain the large crowd with an explosive partnership that allowed Bridgwater to post a very competitive total.

With both batsmen bludgeoning the tiring Potterne bowlers to all parts of the ground, 82 was added for the 5th wicket in only 7 overs, when Bartlett eventually fell for a masterclass 163.

Skidmore continued his hard hitting knock with support from Tom Allcoat, and some hugely expensive overs at the death saw 61 added in the final 3 overs as Bridgwater psted 326 for 5. Skidmore finished with a sublime 69 off only 31 balls, with Allcoat undefeated on 12.

After tea young left armer Alfie Ogborne gave the hosts the perfect start by having the explosive Jake Goodwin superbly caught by Sharland in the gully. The visitors were kept in check by good opening spells by Ogborne and Dan Williams, the latter taking the new ball for the first time this season, with Kiwi overseas Will Williams unavailable due to a short term deal with Lancashire CCC.

The introduction of spin twins, Tom Bellinger and Max Toohey, brought immediate dividends, as all of the first 4 Bridgwater bowlers picked up a wicket apiece to reduce Potterne to 69 for 4 and in some trouble.

Bazil Akram and skipper Neil Clark (23) consolidated the innings with a partnership of 42, when Clark was dismissed LBW to Allcoat, however Akram found another able partner in Chris Aubrey as this pair kept the visitors in the game.

Skidmore, in his first bowl of the season due to injury, picked up the crucial wicket of Akram for 54 from 52 balls, however Aubrey continued to bat well in a stand of 61 for the 7th wicket with Josh Kelly, with Aubrey being the dominant partner.

With the asking rate nearing 10 an over the pressure would eventually give, with Bartlett continuing his fine display with the run out of Kelly, and the returning Ogborne picked up Bull, Aubrey (65) and Higton to finish with 4-31 and finish the game in quick time in front of an appreciative home crowd.

Next week Bridgwater visit Thornbury, before heading to Penzance on Sunday in the regional final of the ECB National Club Championship.