WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset

Ilminster 178-8 beat Bishopston 177 by 2 wkts

ILMINSTER ended their season on a high as Charlie Vickery held his nerve to guide them to a nail-biting two-wicket victory at Bishopston on Saturday.

The visitors elected to bowl when the coin landed in their favour and tore into the home side, quickly reducing them to 15-3.

Harry Montacute (2-15 from eight) claimed two of the three early wickets with Keelan Ashby (1-24 from seven) claiming a return catch off his own bowling to dismiss Matthew Wood.

Ilminster then had to be patient as Jamie Tapper and Mark Coombes set about rebuilding the innings in a partnership of 75 for the fourth wicket.

The stand was broken by Charlie Vickery, who clean bowled Coombes for 26 before also accounting for David O’Brien (0) and Cyrus Shafi (6) in a spell of 3-33 from seven overs.

Tapper’s knock was brought to an end on 73 when he was bowled by Sam Grinter to leave the Bishops on 134-7.

Ben Mason (21) and skipper Frank Connelly (14) added useful late runs but Grinter dismissed both and finished with 4-42 from 5.4 eventful overs, wrapping up the innings on 177.

Ilminster looked to be cruising home when openers Louis Kraucamp and George Hayward got them off to a flyer, adding 85 for the opening wicket.

Both then fell in quick succession to Daaryoush Ahmed, Hayward for 18 and Kraucamp for 56, and the subsequent departures of Josh Lee (8) and Ian Masters (3) left Ilminster wobbling slightly on 117-4.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, with only Vickery holding firm, and the tension rose when Ilminster slipped from 166-5 to 167-8.

James Thompson (4no) entered the fray at number 10 and managed to see it through with Vickery, who finished with an excellent unbeaten 55 as Ilminster sealed victory in the 34th over.

Ilminster have finished their season strongly, with three consecutive wins ensuring a final spot of fifth in Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset - no mean feat in a strong division.

There are set to be three teams relegated from the division but Ilminster have never been in real danger and have picked up some memorable wins along the way.

Ilminster's Craig Rice said: "It is always nice to finish with a win and it has been a good season.

"Louis got off to his usual flyer and Charlie Vickery played his usual role - he is the glue that holds it all together.

"We have never had a season with as many weddings, stag do's, honeymoons etc, which has had an inevitable impact on selection.

"With that in mind, if you had offered us fifth at the start of the season we would have taken it.

"At the same time, we have been on the wrong side of some very close matches so you do wonder what might have been if they had gone the other way.

"It has been a good summer for the club overall - we resurrected our fourth team and, one weekend aside, fielded all four teams, which is an achievement in itself in this day and age.

"Our Under-19 matches again attracted big crowds, as did our first-team games - I think we must be the best supported club in the WEPL in terms of numbers watching, along with Bridgwater."

WEPL Somerset

Chard 251-7 beat Yeovil 228 by 24 runs (DLS)

CHARD secured a third-placed finish in WEPL Somerset with a victory at Yeovil that was more comfortable than the final margin of victory suggested.

Chard won the toss and opted to bat first in their final match of the season and saw their opening batsmen get the innings off to a solid start.

Reid Mawdsley and Harvey Dening added 72 before Dening fell for 40 from 38 balls, including six fours and a six.

Akhona Mbanga also took the long handle approach, with two fours and a six in his quick 16 which took the score past three figures.

Mawdsley passed his half century only to fall shortly afterwards for 52, but steady contributions across the middle order kept Chard’s momentum going.

Nathan Johnson made 39 before he was run out for the second week in succession, Chris Scott hit 46 and both Jonathan Scott (22) and Danny Cleal (13) scored at quicker than a run-a-ball to push Chard to a challenging total of 251-7.

The innings had been briefly interrupted by a shower, reducing the overs permitted to 46, and Yeovil’s target was very slightly adjusted to 253 from 46.

It was a target they didn’t look like chasing from the outset as Chard made a fine start with the ball, reducing their hosts to 45-4.

Will Chesterman hit out, finding the boundary on 10 occasions in his 62, before he was clean bowled by Chris Scott as he finished with excellent figures of 4-29 from 10 overs.

Chesterman’s departure sparked another flurry of wickets and the game was all but up at 149-8, at which point Chard appeared to take their foot off the gas.

Tailenders Dan Ewens (51) and Sam Fuller (31) added 68 for the ninth wicket, though never at a rate which challenged the overall result, and it needed the introduction of Jonathan Scott (2-17) to remove both, the final wicket falling on 228 with three balls to spare.

There were also scalps for Mbanga (1-49), Richard Scott (1-26), Jon Dalwood (1-42) and Mawdsley (1-19).

Chard’s victory concluded an inconsistent season which saw them win nine and lose nine of their 18 matches.

Chard chairman of cricket James Fitzpatrick, who is to step down from the role after three years in charge, said: “Given the availability we had, I don’t think we could have done much better.

“Our first team’s league finishes have improved year on year during my tenure and I think we can be optimistic.

“In addition, our youth section is thriving and now feels far more incorporated within the overall club than it has done in the past.”