Week 18 WEPL review
THE most competitive WEPL Premier One campaign ever came to a close with Frocester and Downend both securing victories that ensured their safety after flirting with relegation.
Frocester found themselves in the bottom two with four rounds of games to go but finished a remarkable third thanks to a 98-run victory over newcomers Bedminster.
And Downend followed up a tremendous triumph over champions Bath with a 33-run home win against confirmed runners-up Clevedon to pull off another great escape following a similar late dash out of the drop zone 12 months previously.
Bristol finished fourth on the back of a 240-run success away to Lechlade who, in the process, were relegated straight back to Premier Two Glos/Wilts.
Gloucestershire’s Kieran Noema-Barnett thumped 110 while Louie Shaw (74) and opener Fin Trenouth (59) also shone in Bristol’s massive 360-9 before Lechlade were rushed out for only 120, Tommy Probert taking 4-28 and Neil Pollard 2-11.
Coming up from Premier Two Glos/Wilts are Goatacre who edged promotion rivals Cheltenham by one wicket to clinch the title with only five balls to spare.
This was quite a game, Cheltenham declaring at 225-7 in the 45th over in pursuit of two extra points which could have made all the difference in another desperately close battle.
Nick Evans (82) and James Schofield (49) top scored for Cheltenham, Gloucestershire’s Benny Howell taking 3-37 from ten and then proving to be the match-winner with the bat, crashing an unbeaten 101.
That’s only half the story though as Goatacre were cruising at 194-5 before finding themselves 220-9 only for Howell and last man Jon Wilkins to get their side over the line.
Hatherley & Reddings still finished bottom despite a 91-run win over Thornbury while second last place was filled by Gloucester City Winget who succumbed by 143 runs at home to Biddestone.
All promotions and relegations across the cross-county league – and feeder competitions such as the Bristol & District, Gloucestershire County and Wiltshire leagues – have yet to be confirmed .
Bishopston wrapped up an excellent campaign in Premier Two Bristol/Somerset with a one-wicket victory away to Taunton, former skipper Dave O’Brien top scoring with 90.
Set to come down from this division, to Bristol & North Somerset, are Claverham, to be replaced by Midsomer Norton who leapfrogged promotion rivals Wiinterbourne by 26 runs in another knife-edge of a finish.
It was just as tight at the other end of the table where newcomers Pak Bristolians and Old Bristolians Westbury ended with defeats which appear set to send them back to the Bristol & District League.
Poised to go up from the Gloucestershire division are champions Dumbleton while the last two positions were filled by Apperley and Chipping Sodbury who are set to drop into the Gloucestershire County League.