CHELTENHAM took advantage of slip ups by title rivals Thornbury and Dumbleton to go top of the WEPL’s Premier Two Glos/Wilts division courtesy of a thumping eight-wicket win at Biddestone.
The home side were restricted to 261-7 from their 50 but the target was well within range for Cheltenham as Kieran Smith (105) and Peter Woodland (99) shared an opening stand of 176 ahead of the points being banked with 11 balls to spare.
Thornbury were edged out by 46 runs at Burbage & Easton Royal while Dumbleton suffered a five-wicket setback at Rockhampton for whom James Hancox grabbed 4-39 ahead of skipper Jamie Wakefield and Will Tyler hitting half centuries.
Downend are up to second in Premier One after bowling out Goatacre and losing only four wickets in the pursuit of 260 at North Street.
Gloucestershire’s Benny Howell top scored on 59 for the visitors as Brandon Gilmour (4-58) and county seamer Craig Miles (3-42) made inroads.
Jordan Garrett then took centre stage for Downend with an unbeaten 112 off 91 balls (15 fours, three sixes) while there was also a quick-fire 60 off 34 from Gilmour (six fours, three sixes) as victory was clinched with almost 15 overs in hand.
Bedminster boosted their hopes of avoiding the drop with a nerve-tingling four-run triumph away to bottom side Frocester.
And Bristol continued their recent fine form with an 18-run home success over Potterne, Gloucestershire’s Will Tavare top scoring on 69.
Winterbourne, the Bristol & North Somerset pacesetters, completed a 92-run triumph at Stapleton where Gloucestershire Under-17 spinner Ben Parker finished with figures of 5-45 from ten.
Knowle remain second after recovering well to trump Bristol 2nds by 30 runs while an unbroken stand of 76 for the ninth wicket between Kasey Aldridge (50) and Craig Wintersgill (49) proved vital for Brislington who eventually closed out a 66-run victory at bottom side Chew Magna.
Twyford House moved up to fifth after completing the double over Congresbury who were dispatched by nine wickets, and Claverham were bowled out for 173 at home to Bath 2nds who eased in by seven wickets.
Bishopston lost by 56 runs at home to Taunton Deane in Premier Two Bristol/Somerset, and Keynsham suffered a seven-wicket reverse at Taunton.
Stroud, who led the Gloucestershire division at the start of the day, went down by 83 runs at Cheltenham 2nds for whom Alex Haworth top scored on 80 before Matt Dixon (4-39) and Josh Mill (3-19) struck.
The new pacesetters are Frocester 2nds who completed a 67-run success at Bourton Vale, while Max Kelly bagged 5-35 in Hatherley & Reddings’ low-scoring three-wicket victory at Cirencester.
Nabi Ahmadzai top scored on 35 and took 4-24 in Gloucester City Winget’s 36-run triumph at Kingsholm, and Girvacques De Jager (55 not) and Tom Allcoat (46 not) guided Tewkesbury to a seven-wicket home win over Cheltenham Civil Service.