WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset
Ilminster 55-3 beat Lansdown 51-9 declared by 7 wkts

ILMINSTER were left fuming on Saturday after a controversial declaration that "left a sour taste" and could yet end up denying them promotion.

Leaders Lansdown were skittled by opening bowlers Sam Grinter (6-27) and Harry Montacute (3-24) only to declare on 51-9 in order to stop Ilminster gaining full bowling points.

Ilminster would have gained seven bowling points had they been allowed to bowl Lansdown out but the declaration ensured they claimed only four.

The hosts knocked off the runs with little alarm, George Hayward finishing unbeaten on 15 as the hosts sealed a seven-wicket win in the 14th over, but the match was somewhat overshadowed by Lansdown's premature declaration.

Ilminster's Craig Rice said: "It was obviously disappointing and leaves a sour taste, particularly as there was a big crowd in to watch.

"They would still have been favourites to win the league anyway (Lansdown have a game in hand) and I think you have to back yourselves to do it properly.

"Our opening bowlers bowled well - though there were some poor shots among the dismissals - and, just as we were preparing to bring the spinners on, we were surprised to see the skipper calling them in."

Ilminster skipper Sam Spurway took to Twitter to call it "the most embarrassing cricket moment I've been involved in" - Lansdown could now wrap up the league with a maximum points win on Saturday.

The incident, though not breaking any specific rules, has drawn comparisons with Carew Cricket Club's declaration on 18-1 in last season's title decider against Cresselly in the Pembroke County League which saw Carew relegated by the league as a result.

A West of England Premier League spokesman said: "WEPL is aware and looking into the circumstances of the game in question but can make no further comment until our investigations are complete."