Table-toppers Old Bristolians are brought back down to earth by Bish
BISHOPSTON turned the tables on leaders Old Bristolians Westbury to secure a dramatic first win of the season and boost hopes of avoiding the drop from the WEPL's Bristol & Somerset division – despite losing two key players to injuries.
Opener Mark Coombes pulled a hamstring midway through his 58 and was unable to field, 62-year-old Billy Daly being press-ganged into taking his place after tea.
And Bish suffered further disruption when Lawrence Cook went to hospital after dislocating a finger, Vince Pilling stepping in as a replacement fielder and quickly making his mark by holding on to a chance offered by opener Tom Parnell (36) off skipper John Stilwell.
The visitors were still well set at 184-6 needing 204 for victory, Russ Baker hitting 50. But the final four wickets tumbled for just three runs to give Bish a memorable triumph, 18-year-old leggie Joe Wenham bowling with great composure to finish with 3-29.
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The victory moved Bish out of the bottom two for the first time this season, Knowle dropping down a place and into the danger zone after a six-wicket setback at Brislington.
Joe Brimble (40) and skipper Matt Wilson (38) helped the visitors reach 173 all out, Jon Rogers taking 3-35, while Lloyd Hobson finished with the superb figures of 2-9 from ten.
Bris then secured victory with five overs to spare, the father-and-son partnership of skipper Richard (57) and Will Ollis (44) putting on 98 for the second wicket.
Bristol West Indians remain rooted to the bottom of the table after a nine-wicket setback at Taunton. Ajit Singh (51 not out) and Cliff Young (41) helped the visitors to 201-9, but Taunton needed less than 29 overs to reach their target.
Clevedon, meanwhile, regained pole position with a 122-run victory at Midsomer Norton. Marc Jenkins (69) and skipper John Bachelor (49) steered their side to a total of 204-8 before Jake Rowe (3-5 from 6.1 overs), plus two wickets apiece from Matt Carpenter, Wayne Kylander and Tim Hancock secured the spoils.
Minehead edged up to second with a three-wicket triumph at Bedminster for whom former Gloucestershire batsman Rob Cunliffe starred with 102 in a total of 224-9.
The visitors were in trouble at 104-6, but a stand of 89 between Steve Hayes (73 not out) and Matt Drakeley (41) turned the tide despite the efforts of James Carter (3-38) and Cunliffe (3-43). Just six points now separate leaders Clevedon and third-placed OB Westbury with five more rounds of games to go.
And an intriguing run-in sees Clevedon host OB Westbury on August 11 and entertaining Minehead on August 25 in matches which will be crucial with only one promotion slot up for grabs.
The race for the Bristol & North Somerset title remains equally intense as Winterbourne moved back into second with a four-wicket home success over Timsbury, who reverted to third. The South Gloucestershire side were certainly made to work for victory with teenagers Chris Kislingbury (54) and Marcus Purnell (31 not out) sharing a crucial 107-run sixth-wicket partnership as Winterbourne reached their target of 185 with an over to spare.
Earlier, skipper Mark Sage dominated his side's innings with 105, James Williams claiming 4-33.
Lansdown remain top thanks to a two-wicket home success over Shirehampton, for whom Graham Williams (77) top-scored in a challenge of 256-7.
South African Daryn-Lee Dorman's 114 and Jordan Price (54) then saw Lansdown home despite losing a late flurry of wickets.
Claverham were comfortable seven-wicket home victors in the North Somerset showdown with Nailsea, who were rushed out for 110 with skipper Pete Hardcastle blasting a defiant unbeaten 55 from 32 balls (seven fours, three sixes).
Openers Mike Donaldson (144) and Ian March (52) shared a stand of 162 as Frenchay piled up 318-6 at Congresbury, who finished 57 runs shy despite Adam Whiting's 85, Tyrone Isitt taking 4-45.
Stapleton held their nerve for a last-over one-wicket triumph at Twyford House, Hamza Sultan Ali making his presence felt by taking 3-28 and then smashing a vital quickfire 25 as the points were clinched with two balls to spare.
Openers Mark Fowler (77) and Ross Sutton (48) put Twyford on course for a total of 223-9. And although Sutton then followed up with 5-33, Stapleton were grateful to the efforts of Chris Ledbury (47), Ian Purchase (38), Ghulam Shabbir (31) and Josh Coombes (28) in a real team effort before Hamza's late heroics.