THE West of England Premier League (WEPL) season begins this weekend, with three South Somerset sides gunning for glory in 2019.

Ilminster came close to Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset promotion last season and are hoping to be competitive again.

Sam Spurway will again lead the side, while South African all-rounder Keelan Ashby has been signed as an overseas player - Ilminster’s first for several seasons.

Ilminster’s Craig Rice said: “It will be a very competitive league and I feel anyone could beat anyone.

“A lot will depend on availability on certain weekends - a few clubs in this league may have professional players available at various times - and an element of luck.”

Ilminster’s second and third XI’s are in new leagues, having been promoted last time out, while they have also re-introduced a fourth team to increase opportunities for youngsters to play senior cricket.

Ilminster’s first team begin at home to Taunton Deane on Saturday (12.30pm).

North Perrott are also in Premier 2, after winning promotion last season.

They have retained key players including George Retter, captain Jake Syme and Gordon Whorlow, as well as Somerset Women spin bowler Lorraine Szczepanski.

Having rounded off their pre-season with a win over Bournemouth, their opening league match is away to Weston-super-Mare on Saturday.

Chard, meanwhile, are looking forward to a season in WEPL Somerset, boosted by a new player-coach in Reid Mawdsley and the return of overseas player Akhona Jeremiah Mbanga, who took 52 wickets at an average of under 14 last summer.

They have lost Pete Moxom to promoted North Perrott but Niall Crouch, who also plays as Chard RFC’s fly-half, returns after a spell at Ilminster.

The ‘spin twins’, Chris Scott and Jon Dalwood, remain a key part of the side and spokesman James Fitzpatrick is hopeful of a top three finish – Chard begin at Bridgwater 2nds on Saturday.

The club is fielding three senior sides in total and hopes are high that several of the talented young players at the club can continue their progress.

The ladies team continues to grow at Chard and there are several softball festivals to look forward to this summer, while the youth teams are looking forward to their respective league campaigns.

The youth systems are thriving at both Chard and Ilminster, both of whom are running All Stars Cricket for five to eight-year-olds this summer.

Chard are running the initiative for the first time, while Ilminster attracted around 50 children to their sessions last summer.

The sessions begin at both clubs on Friday, May 10. To get involved at Chard, contact Phil Griffiths (07512 141319) and to register your child online visit

Both Chard and Ilminster also run numerous age-group sides in the Taunton & District Youth League.


CREWKERNE 2nd XI had the honour of playing the first match in this year’s Somerset Cricket League, which this year is sponsored by Monmouth Scientific.

They travelled to Wellington 3rds in Division 7 South, and the hosts made 193-5 despite the efforts of Gary Fry (3-14).

In reply, Robbie James (19) and Owen Male (46) put on an opening stand of 42, but they were Crewkerne’s highest scorers as they finished on 125-9, giving Wellington the victory by 68 runs.

Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry took 2-13 for the home side.

The Somerset League gets fully up and running this Saturday, with Ilminster 2nd XI going to Frome 2nds in Division 2 and Chard 2nds at home to Broadway & Horton in Division 3.

North Perrott 2nds entertain Wembdon 2nds, while Crewkerne travel to Kilmington & Stourton and South Petherton are at Huntspill & District.