West of England Premier Cricket League: Premier One – Saturday 30 August 2014
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. Yesterday we covered the Premier One title decider between Frocester and Bath. Today in the fourth and final of our series, we have details of the rest of Premier One, including a dramatic relegation battle.
Somerset’s prolific James Regan scored 95 on Saturday to set up what Taunton St Andrews are calling “the great escape” as they narrowly avoided relegation from Premier One by just three points.
Their survival follows a comprehensive 125-run victory over Corsham at the Wyvern Club, with Regan finishing as the leading run scorer in the division.
St Andrews were lying in ninth place in the table going into Saturday’s final round of games, with Weston Super Mare just above them in eighth.
Weston knew their Premier One place was safe if they managed to win their match away to Downend or if St Andrews lost theirs to Corsham.
But defeat for Weston and a win for St Andrews would see that situation reversed.
Both clubs could only take care of their own side of business and hope their rivals slipped up.
In the event, Weston couldn’t quite manage to win a close contest with Downend, losing by just 10 runs. With St Andrews winning so comfortably, the results ensured the Taunton side’s survival and mean Weston will be playing Premier Two cricket next season.
Below we have a report on both games as well as news from the remaining two matches in Premier One last Saturday.
Put into bat by Corsham, Taunton St Andrews piled up a highly competitive 267 before being dismissed with two balls remaining of their allotted 50 overs.
Regan top scored with 95, his innings crowning a fine season, which has brought him 915 Premier One runs in 17 games at an average of 53.82 , with three hundreds and six half-centuries.
Openers Martin Jenkins (32) and former Somerset all-rounder Keith Parsons (56) also made valuable contributions, although the rest of the side were dimissed cheaply with Jonathan Parker taking 3-51. There were also two wickets a piece for Paul Robbins and Corsham skipper Ashur Morrison.
When Corsham batted, Nick Eggbeer removed both openers cheaply and then picked up number 4 Steve Bullen for a duck to leave the visitors in trouble.
Michael Coles (35) and Morrison (22) rebuilt, but when Coles was run out and Morrison was trapped lbw by Joe Wadham, Luke Poole (3-29) and Deven Bell (2-12) ran through the tail to dismiss Corsham for just 142 in 27.4 overs.
Corsham’s defeat saw them drop from fifth to sixth place in the final table.
Weston Super Mare did well to get close to a decent target of 259 set by their hosts at Downend Cricket Club.
The mainstay of the Downend innings was keeper Patrick Grieshaber, who made 70 at almost a run a ball, with 12 fours and one six, while Ben Ringrose scored 63 and Ryhs Barrett 41.
Downend were somewhat short of a competitive total when they lost three wickets for one run and slipped to 209-9, as Andy Fear claimed 3-75.
However, skipper Matthew Jackson, batting at number 11, chipped in with a useful 25*, and put on an unbeaten 49 for the last wicket with Barrett.
Shabil Ahmed took 2-32, while there was one wicket a piece for former Somerset bowler Charl Willoughby, Sam Trego and Chris Davidson.
Weston got off to a bad start, losing both openers with only four runs on the board. But then a partnership of 98 for the third wicket from former Somerset keeper Rob Turner (72 off 85 balls with nine fours and two sixes) and John Williams (39) set the visitors’ reply up nicely.
But when their partnership was broken, Weston lost four wickets for 46 runs, including Gary Morgan, run out for a useful 25, and at 148-6 were still 110 from victory.
An excellent, attacking knock of 51 off 45 balls with four fours and three sixes from Sam Trego renewed Weston’s hopes as he shared a stand of 65 with Andy Fear (21). When both men fell in quick succession, Weston were 226-8.
Keeper John Davidson made a valiant effort with the tail, making 20 off 12 balls with two fours and a six, but he was left with too much to do and fell to the final ball of the match with Weston 248 all out.
The result meant Downend held onto their fourth place in the table, agonisingly just one run behind Taunton Deane who finished third.
Taunton Deane made sure of that third place by beating Bristol by 15 runs in another tight fixture at Bristol Cricket Club.
Batting first in a match affected by the weather and reduced to 37 overs side, Deane ran up a total of 195-7, keeper Sam Shaikh top scoring with 47 before he was run out. Somerset youngster Neil Brand (39) and Sam Underdown (24) shared a useful stand at the top of the order. There were two wickets a piece for Neil Pollard and Bobby Brown.
In reply, Bristol had a poor start, Liam Redrup removing both openers cheaply, including former Gloucestershire and Somerset keeper Steve Snell for 13.
Cameron Herring’s 51, with some support from the middle order, particularly Ralph Hardwick (24), raised hopes. However wickets fell at regular intervals and with Redrup nipping out the tail, Bristol finished on 180-7.
Redrup returned the excellent figures of 7-0-30-4, while there were two wickets each for Brand and Jack Fraser.
Bridgwater moved up to take fifth place in the table, following a dramatic one-wicket win over Ashcott & Shapwick, whose relegation was already confirmed.
Batting first at The Parks, the visitors made exactly 200-9 off their 50 overs, Nayan Karmarkar top scoring with 35. Former Somerset Second XI bowler Chris Skidmore (who also played for Gloucestershire Second XI in the latter half of the season) took 3-29, removing both openers, while former Somerset bowler Stefan Jones removed the middle order, taking 3-47.
In reply, despite a near run-a-ball 50 from Cameron Williams (with seven fours and two sixes), 38 from Stuart Butt and 31 from former Somerset Second XI bowler Robbie Montgomery (now with Gloucestershire), Bridgwater slipped to 193-9, still needing eight for victory. However an unbeaten 11 from Stefan Jones, including two boundaries, took his side to victory with 4.4 overs to spare.
Ashcott & Shapwick finish the league in tenth place.
Bridgwater CC v Ashcott & Shapwick CC – http://ashcottshapwick.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11847839
Bristol CC v Taunton Deane CC – http://tauntondeane.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11847854
Downend CC v Weston Super Mare CC – http://downend.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11847874
Taunton St Andrews CC v Corsham CC – http://tauntonstandrews.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11847897
West of England Premier Cricket League – Final Premier One table after 18 games: http://frocester.play-cricket.com/league_table?id=402&season_id=72