WEPL Premier 1

Clevedon 195 beat Taunton St Andrew’s 115 by 70 runs

TAUNTON St Andrew’s slipped to a fifth straight league defeat on Saturday despite a promising first-team debut from 14-year-old spinner Josh Thomas.

Thomas took 4-47 from 9.4 overs at the back end of the innings as the Saints bowled their hosts - and the division’s reigning champions - out for 195 on a used wicket.

The visiting bowlers initially had to be patient and it took the introduction of Lloyd Alley to bring the breakthrough.

He struck twice in quick succession, trapping Greg Willows (20) in front before having Harry Ellison (6) caught by captain James Regan.

When home skipper Jake Lintott fell to Luke Poole (1-39) for a single, Clevedon were 95-4 but still had in-form opener Masoor Khan at the crease.

Khan added a valuable 60 for the fifth wicket with Adnan Mufti (37) and continued to 81 before he was the ninth wicket to fall, one of four scalps for Thomas in an excellent spell.

Chasing 196, the Saints’ reply got off to the worst possible start when Alley fell to the first ball of the reply.

Young pair James Rew (6) and George Thomas (0) both followed with the score on 19 before Regan’s departure for 10 left the Saints on the back foot at 41-4.

Justin Burke dug in solidly for 29 from 102 balls before he was bowled by Lintott (3-25 off six) to leave the score 86-7.

Last man Harry Clements enjoyed himself, blasting three fours and a six to take the visitors past 100, but his cameo ended on 24 with the Saints 70 adrift of their target.

Regan, who has stepped in to lead the side until the end of the season, said: “I thought we bowled and fielded brilliantly.

“Josh Thomas bowled with a maturity beyond his years and he looks one of the most exciting young spin bowlers around the county at the moment.

“Our young players in general have been brilliant this season and have not looked out of place at all.

“It is a challenge for them - some of them are 15-year-olds facing professional bowlers - but they have stood up to it.

“The wicket on Saturday was old and used and it was only going to get worse, but I felt 195 was chaseable.

“But we needed one of our top four to go big and that didn’t happen.

“It’s not rocket science to see that we haven’t scored a lot of runs this season.

“Batting is very confidence-based and we don’t have a lot of confidence at the moment.

“That said, I know we have the ability and I have faith in us to turn it around.”

The Saints sit second-bottom, 22 points adrift of safety, with eight matches to play - the first of which is at home to Bedminster on Saturday.

They hope to be able to call on Somerset batsman Eddie Byrom, who missed the defeat at Clevedon through illness but made 152 on his most recent Saints appearance at Lansdown a fortnight ago.