WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset

North Perrott 246-5 beat Ilminster 243 by 3 runs

ILMINSTER suffered an agonising three-run defeat at home on Saturday, as fellow South Somerset side North Perrott left the Rec with the spoils.

Key to their success was the fourth-wicket pairing of Alex Eckland and Jack Henderson, who both scored quickfire half-centuries.

Ilminster won the toss and opted to field, enjoying some early success when Sam Grinter (3-56 off 10 overs) had George Retter (5) caught behind with just 11 runs on the board.

Gordon Whorlow (46) and Jamie Baird (44) fought back, reaching 83 before the former was dismissed by James Thompson (1-19 off 10).

Baird became Grinter’s second victim, but Eckland blasted 67 (off 59 balls, with six fours and two sixes) and New Zealander Henderson 55 (off 28 balls, with seven fours and one six) to take their side past 200.

Henderson was there unbeaten at the end of the 50 overs, with Perrott reaching 246-5.

The Ilminster reply began badly, slipping to 14-2 as Jonny Warry (0) was run out by Retter and George Hayward (2) caught off Stacy Hawes (1-48 off 10).

Louis Kraucamp counter-attacked with a 28-ball 37 (six fours, one six), and he was followed by Sam Spurway (54 from 58 balls, with 10 fours).

Charlie Vickery became the key man for Ilminster as they chipped away at their target, though Perrott spinners Lorraine Szczepanski (1-18 off seven) and Whorlow (3-38 off 10) put the squeeze on.

Despite that, and Eckland claiming 2-40 off eight, Vickery’s resilience and scores of 17 from Matt Davis and 15 from Keelan Ashby edged the hosts closer.

Ultimately they came up just short, with last man Grinter run out by Henderson off the penultimate ball of the innings trying to return the strike to Vickery, who finished unbeaten on 83.

The two sides’ under-19s go up against each other on what should be another cracking occasion at Ilminster on Friday night (6.15pm).

This Saturday sees Ilminster go to Midsomer Norton and Perrott host Taunton Deane (both 12.30pm).

Then, on Sunday, Perrott play Frome in the SCB Major Cup final at the County Ground in Taunton (1pm).