Saturday saw the final round of matches in this year’s West of England Premier League which decided promotion and relegation for our league clubs across Somerset. This week Jeremy Blackmore rounds up the news from each of the divisions, including the role played by Somerset CCC players past and present. Today in the second of our series of reports we have news from Premier Two.
Ilminster and Clevedon, the top two sides going into the final round of matches (level on 243 points) both sealed promotion to Premier One with victories on Saturday.
Promotion was far from assured though, with Keynsham and Potterne nicely placed to pinch one of the promotion spots if either of the top two had fallen at the final hurdle.
And the fixture list had thrown up an enthralling tie on the final Saturday with Clevedon drawn to play Keynsham away at The Frank Taylor Memorial Ground in a winner-takes-all encounter.
In a close contest, which went down to the penultimate over, Clevedon came out on top by four wickets.
Batting first, Keynsham recovered from a bad start which saw them lose half their side with only 54 runs on the board, former Somerset and England bowler Andy Caddick among the early wickets.
With Matthew Taylor top scoring with an aggressive, unbeaten 78 (88 balls with eight fours and three sixes), Keynsham rallied to finish on 194-7 after 50 overs. Taylor shared an 87-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Reg Keates who made 43, before he became the third victim for Jacob Lintott (3-30).
In reply, Clevedon reached 90-2 thanks to a 79-run partnership for the second wicket from Masoor Khan (64) and skipper John Bachelor (40). The fall of Bachelor’s wicket brought Somerset batsman Chris Jones to the crease and with Clevedon needing 86 from 15 overs, they had plenty of wickets and experience to draw on.
When Jones was caught at cover for 22 with the score on 129-3 in the 38th over, Caddick joined Khan and by the 40 over mark, Clevedon needed 65 off exactly 10 overs.
With Caddick and Bachelor going strong, that equation improved further to 42 needed from 7 overs at exactly a run a ball.
Caddick then fell for 25 from just 18 balls (three fours, one six) with the score on 163-4, leaving 31 required from six overs.
Matthew Carpenter made 10, but was caught by Daniel Jarman running backwards at point and Clevedon were 182-5 with 13 needed off three overs.
Six were needed from two overs when Khan’s long vigil finally ended, caught behind off Taylor (to give him his third wicket) for a 124-ball innings of 64. But with only five more needed, Clevedon reached their target without any more mishaps, winning by four wickets with exactly an over to spare.
Meanwhile on the other side of Bristol, Ilminster were drawn away to Thornbury and came out on top in another close encounter, winning by 10 runs.
The hosts won the toss and put Ilminster into bat, reducing them to 28-2, before a third-wicket stand worth 107 runs between wicket-keeper and captain Sam Spurway, who made 88 and Matt Davis, who made 41. But the partnership was broken by Thornbury skipper Richard Trotman who went onto take 4-30 in his 10 overs and helped restrict the visitors to 201-9 in their 50 overs.
In reply, Thornbury lost wickets at regular intervals and were 130-7 before Luke Davis (47) and Tom Shrewsbury (35) shared a 53-run stand for the eighth wicket. When their partnership was broken though, Thornbury lost their last three wickets for eight runs and were dismissed for 191 with five overs still remaining. Wickets were shared among the Ilminster bowlers, Louis Kraucamp finishing with 3-37.
Those results saw Ilminster clinch the Premier Two title, finishing with 262 points, while Clevedon finished second on 259 – although both clubs are promoted.
Potterne finished third on 250 points, following a demolition job away at Goatacre. In an incredible spell of bowling, opening bowler Jake Roberts dismissed the entire top eight in the hosts’ batting line-up, before effecting a run out to finish off the innings as Goatacre were bundled out for 103. He finished with figures of 10-1-48-8. Potterne had a few scares of their own, but reached their target for the loss of four wickets, Sahan Wijerathne top scoring with 53 not out.
Keynsham finished fourth with 245 points, following that defeat to Clevedon, with Thornbury in fifth after losing to Ilminster.
Cheltenham finished sixth after making 311-6 in their 50 overs to beat Chard, who finished eighth. Goatacre finished between them in seventh place.
At the foot of the table, bottom placed clubs Minehead and Glastonbury were drawn against each other on Saturday, Glastonbury coming out on top in an extremely close game by just four runs. Both are now relegated.
Keynsham CC v Clevedon CC – http://clevedon.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11847969
Thornbury CC, Glos v Ilminster CC – http://ilminster.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11848001
Final 2014 West of England Premier Cricket League Premier Two league table after 18 games: http://clevedon.play-cricket.com/league_table?id=403&season_id=72
Bristol and North Somerset Division:
Lansdown had already taken the title last week, extending their lead over second-place Winterbourne to an unassailable 33 points. On Saturday they celebrated promotion by winning their final match of the season against Twyford House CC by 85 runs, taking their final points tally to 321. Winterbourne won their final game over Stapleton by a massive 186 runs and finished on 290 points, Congresbury finished third. At the foot of the table, Timsbury lost to Shirehampton and are relegated: http://westofengland.play-cricket.com/league_table?id=407&season_id=72
This division had also been decided on the penultimate weekend of the season, Frome clinching promotion with an unassailable 52-point lead over Staplegrove. Frome extended that lead even further to 53 points on Saturday by winning their final game against Street by 126 runs. Staplegrove won their final fixture against North Petherton by seven wickets to finish on 226 points. Meanwhile, Winscombe were relegated after finishing in 10th, 56 points behind ninth-placed Butleigh: http://westofengland.play-cricket.com/league_table?id=10062283&season_id=72