THE race for the Greene King IPA Gloucestershire County League championship tightened as leaders Apperley suffered a home defeat and had their lead over Thornbury 2nds cut to only three points.
Mike Strong (98) and Matt Cayless (82) shared an unbroken stand of 187 as Kingsholm made the most of being ask to bat at Apperley, reaching 224-3 which proved to be well out of reach, Cayless and Luke Bond finishing with three wickets apiece.
Thornbury made the most of this slip up with a 152-run home defeat of Redmarley, openers Vishal Mamgai (95) and Praneel Choughle (53) finding form along with Harry Wormwell (56) before skipper James Tunnicliffe (3-19) and Alex Riggs (3-18) struck with the ball.
Third-placed Lydney lost ground with a five-wicket home setback against Cheltenham 2nds for whom Ben Pegler (67) and Aled Howell (67 not) shone.
Sourish Mukherjee (74) top scored for Chipping Sodbury who reined in Charlton Kings by 27 runs, and Liam Smith’s 5-8 from nine saw Poulton to a 216-run pounding of bottom side Gloucester AIW Sports.
Division Two leaders Cam crushed Ullenwood Bharat by 131 runs while second-placed Westbury-on-Severn were 11-run victors at Hatherley & Reddings 2nds, skipper Greg Artus top scoring on 63.
Oldlands and Cinderford St John tied a thriller, both sides reaching 228-8. Ed Ruck (48) top scored for Saints with Nick Grove (74) and Bobby Woolams (42 not) leading the Oldlands reply.
One of the innings of the day came at Aston Ingham where opener Jon Waspe’s 153 scripted a four-wicket triumph over Chipping Campden.
Division Three leaders Langford cruised in by ten wickets at Cranham, chasing 150, and nearest rivals Hawkesbury Upton trumped Frocester 3rds by nine wickets after pursuing a target of 241.
Frampton-on-Severn were seven-wicket victors in a rain-hit clash at Great Rissington while Tetbury edged Rockhampton 2nds by one wicket and Woodpeckers overcame Chipping Sodbury 2nds by six wickets.
In Division Four, pacesetters Bourton Vale won by four wickets at Dymock while Andy Downes (61) helped see Birdlip & Brimpsfield to a six-wicket home success over Lydney 2nds.
Half centuries from Will Bowers and Lee Clark saw Fairford to a five-wicket success away to Cheltenham Civil Service, Jack Cowles (104) and Karl Mortimer (5-7) helped Newent to a 99-run home defeat of Stone and Dumbleton 2nds clinched a seven-wicket win away to their Tewkesbury counterparts.
Corse & Staunton 2nds leapfrogged Sheepscombe to go second in Division Five with a five-wicket home win over their rivals, Jack Hutchings (60) and Alex Morgan (50) the batting heroes.
Leaders Cheltenham 3rds won by four wickets at Minchinhampton, James Cotterill contributing an unbeaten 53, and Jake Holmes claimed 5-20 for Cirencester 2nds who trumped Charlton Kings 2nds by 115 runs.
Witcombe were three-wicket winners at Haresfield Gladiators while Gloucester 2nds overpowered King’s Stanley by 60 runs.
Tom Horrell top scored on 103 for Stroud 2nds who eased in by 66 runs at Chedworth in Division Six, and Ivor Griffiths went one better with 104 as Churchdown saw off Upton St Leonards by 116 runs.
Opener Scott Meredith hit 118 for Poulton 2nds who held on for a three-run victory in Division Seven away to Down Hatherley who whom Aaron Shelley responded with 103.
Captain Robin Smith’s 105 was the highlight of Hatherley & Reddings 3rds’ 105-run home trumping of Ruardean Hill who were replaced at the top by Whitminster for whom Lee Medcroft captured 4-12 in an eight-wicket home triumph over Bourton Vale 3rds.