West of England Premier League Premier 2

Clevedon 191-6 beat Ilminster 190-7 by 4 wkts

ILMINSTER missed the chance to all but seal their promotion back to Premier 1 at the first time of asking, as they crashed to a four-wicket defeat at title rivals Clevedon.

The result means Ilminster head into the final week of the season in second place, level on points with leaders Clevedon but knowing victory against Thornbury this weekend would see them back in the top division next season.

Skipper Sam Spurway led the way for Ilminster with a patient 87, but he lacked any real support from the rest of his side as they closed on 190-7 in the final over.

Chris Jones then guided Clevedon to their target with two overs to spare, but not without the help of the Ilminster fielders, who dropped the Somerset batsman three times during his knock of 69 not out.

Captain Sam Spurway said this week: “We dropped their top scorer (Chris Jones) three times, which is most unlike us.

“They got opener Louis (Kraucamp) early on and I dragged one on when feeling good at 87.

“We didn’t have the rub of the green.

“As a result, we ended up 20-30 runs short and that meant we were always struggling to contain them.

“On balance, they deserved the victory.”

Saturday’s final round of fixtures could not have worked out better for the competition. Clevedon and Ilminster are locked together at the top on 243 points, Keynsham are third on 239 and Potterne fourth on 228.

While Ilminster visit Thornbury, who are fifth, Clevedon visit Keynsham, where one club will be knocked out of the race.

Ilminster are favourites to go up and only a big defeat would foil that ambition.

As Spurway said: “This is a great competition, with four teams in with a shout going into the last game . . . that’s what you play for. We’re still in with a great shout for the title.”