Another century from Somerset’s Tom Abell sealed a comfortable victory for Taunton Cricket Club over Brislington on Saturday.
The result means the hunt for the Bristol and Somerset Division title goes down the wire with just one round of matches remaining.
Taunton are now just seven points behind leaders Midsomer Norton who lost their game to Frenchay at the weekend.
A win for Norton on Saturday would have secured them the title and sole promotion spot with a game to spare. They now need to win their final game away to Bedminster this coming weekend to be sure of the going up.
Taunton meanwhile will travel to the west of Bristol to take on Old Bristolians Westbury CC, needing to win and hoping that Norton slip up on the other side of the city.
With Somerset playing Northamptonshire in a four-day championship match, starting on Sunday, Taunton will wait to hear whether their star batsman will available to them for this must-win fixture.
Brislington went into Saturday’s game with Taunton at Gipsy Lane in third place, but stumbled en route to posting a total of 195 all out in 46.2 overs. Taunton then made short work of their target, reaching it with 14.1 overs to spare to win by 10 wickets.
Fresh from his debut first-class game for Somerset last week, Abell scored his third century of the summer for Taunton – to go with four half centuries – and is now averaging 128.33 in 11 league games this year.
Abell finished unbeaten on 103, scored from 110 deliveries and featuring 14 boundaries. He shared a 198-run opening stand with Chris Davenport in 35.5 overs.
Davenport was happy to support his partner and played an excellent innings himself, making 73* off 105 balls with six fours.
Earlier, Brislington’s top three all got starts before they all fell to Taunton’s Chris Greenwood with 104 on the board, keeper William Ollis making 39.
Thereafter only a stand worth 52 for the sixth wicket between Brislington skipper and former Somerset batsman Richard Ollis – who top scored with 55 off 75 deliveries – and Cameron George (15) provided any threat. After their partnership was broken, Brislington lost their last 5 wickets for 22 runs as Graham Fitt mopped up the tail with four wickets for 29 runs. Greenwood finished with 4-27 off 10 overs.
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Brislington now slip to fifth place, with Old Bristolians Westbury CC and Bishopton moving up to third and fourth respectively.
Midsomer Norton were involved in a final over thriller on Saturday, with their match being decided off the penultimate ball for the second week running.
After beating relegation candidates Wembdon last weekend, this Saturday they finished on the losing side, as Frenchay pulled off a dramatic victory in a match reduced to 41 overs a side by the weather.
Norton batted first at The Bob Stone Ground and were in trouble at 74-4 before a 107-run partnership for the fifth wicket from Martin Cox (89 off 112 balls with 10 fours and two sixes) and skipper Nick Potter (42*) helped the visitors to a score of 201-5, Ben Helps finishing with 3-26.
In reply, Matthew Barrow made 33, but Frenchay lost wickets at regular intervals, only Chris Bury standing firm, reaching an unbeaten half-century as his side collapsed to 142-7, Nick Potter taking 3-36. Bury eventually found a partner who was able to stay with him in Alex Stell (10) and the pair put on 51 for the eighth wicket to take Frenchay to 193-8 when Stell was dismissed.
Bury was joined by Helps and the pair kept their nerve to clinch victory with a just one ball to spare by two wickets. Bury finished unbeaten on 94 off 104 balls with 10 fours and a six.
Frenchay’s win keeps them out of the relegation zone and means they hang onto eighth place, despite a win for ninth-placed Wembdon.
A brilliant all-round effort from former Somerset all-rounder Ian Blackwell set up victory for Wembdon over Bedminster at Don Valley on Saturday.
Blackwell top scored with a near run-a-ball 63 (eight fours) before he was run out. Skipper Sam Puddy and Harry Bowditch also made half-centuries – sharing an opening stand of 113 – as the home side finished their 50 overs on 260-5.
Bedminster started strongly thanks to a superb century from former Australia and Gloucestershire all-rounder Ian Harvey (101 off 92 balls with 17 fours), who shared an opening stand of 169 with Garreth Elphick (60).
But Blackwell then struck, trapping Harvey lbw and taking three further wickets as the visitors slumped to 193-5. That left the lower order to much work to do, as Bedminster finished on 230-7 off their 50 overs, Blackwell returning excellent figures of 10-3-22-4.
Wembdon closed the gap very slightly with that win but are still 10 points behind Frenchay.
Final round of matches: Saturday 30 August:
(current league positions in brackets)
Bedminster (6) v Midsomer Norton (1)
Bishopston (4) v Frenchay (8)
Brislington (5) v Wembdon (9)
Knowle (7) v Chew Magna (10)
Old Bristolians Westbury (3) v Taunton (2)
Frenchay CC v Midsomer Norton CC – http://midsomernorton.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11848047
Taunton CC v Brislington CC – http://taunton.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11848080
Wembdon CC v Bedminster CC – http://wembdon.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11848087
West of England Premier Cricket League Bristol Somerset Division league table after 17 games: http://midsomernorton.play-cricket.com/league_table?id=405&season_id=72
Top two Ilminster and Clevedon met at Dial Hill on Saturday, Clevedon coming out on top by four wickets. Both are now level on 243 points and in line to take the two promotion spots, providing they don’t slip up in the final round of matches next Saturday. However Keynsham – Clevedon’s opponents next weekend – lie in wait in third with 239 points should they do so. Meanwhile Minehead and Glasbtonbury look set for relegation, with Chard now 25 points clear of the drop zone above them: http://westofengland.play-cricket.com/league_table?id=403&season_id=72
Bristol and North Somerset Division:
Lansdown took the title after a comprehensive 169-run win over Bristol West Indian & Phoenix CC on Saturday. They win extended their lead over second-place Winterbourne to an unassailable 33 points. Timsbury continue to occupy tenth place and are candidates for the one relegation spot, although Bristol YMCA CC are only four points above them: http://westofengland.play-cricket.com/league_table?id=407&season_id=72
Frome have clinched promotion and recorded a comfortable 126-win over ninth-placed Butleigh on Saturday. They now have an unassailable 52-point lead over Staplegrove. Winscombe occupy the sole relegation spot, 51 points behind Butleigh: http://westofengland.play-cricket.com/league_table?id=10062283&season_id=72