ALEX Binnie and James King guided Cirencester to a dramatic one-wicket victory away to nearest rivals Corse & Staunton who, despite this defeat, still clinched top spot in Covid Group H in a neck-and-neck finish on the final Saturday of the shortened Courage West of England Premier League campaign.
The two sides ended the season all square on 12 points after seven rounds of matches with the honour of finishing first going to Corse courtesy of the fact that they had six wins to their credit compared to five for Ciren whose bad luck with the weather led to one cancellation and one abandonment.
Ciren, though, enjoyed finishing on a winning note thanks to the efforts of their last wicket pair who batted out almost seven overs to secure the required 13 runs, Binnie ending on 18 from 42 deliveries while King was two off 20 as Ciren inflicted a first defeat of the summer on the home side.
Corse, who started the day with a perfect six from six record at the top of the group, had earlier battled their way to a total of 135.
Skipper Tim Dannatt (29) top scored as Jono Jamieson-Black claimed 4-17 from six ahead of brother Jamie then taking the fight to Corse with 43 off only 34 balls at the top of the order.
But Ciren wickets also tumbled to Ed Goolden (3-16 from seven), Josh Preston (2-5 from four) and Bertie Wyatt (2-36), setting up the tense finish.
It was also tight at Bourton Vale who secured a 12-run win over Frocester 2nds for whom Taylor Ireland (6-28 from eight) shone.
Dan Davis smashed a remarkable unbeaten 219 off only 133 balls (21 fours, 16 sixes) as Thornbury 2nds cruised in by 84 runs at home to Cheltenham Civil Service, Jordan Rouse unbeaten on 106 for the visitors. And Apperley were four-wicket victors at Painswick.
Cheltenham, meanwhile, topped Covid Group F after making it seven from seven with a 49-run home triumph over Thornbury. Skipper Nick Evans (68 not) and Kieran Smith (63) starred with the bat while George Pritchard (4-34) made inroads with the ball.
Harvey Jupp’s return of 5-15 was in vain as Stroud suffered a one-run home setback against Dumbleton, Gloucester broke their duck with a two-wicket home success over Rockhampton, Craig Collinson capturing 5-27, and Hatherley & Reddings held on for a nine-run win at Frocester.
Bristol West Indian Phoenix wrapped up a fine unbeaten campaign in Covid Group G with a 44-run victory away to Stapleton, Ishtiaq Ishaq taking 4-31, while Bristol 2nds edged local rivals OB Westbury by 13 runs and Golden Hill saw off Twyford House by six wickets.
Keynsham succumbed by six runs at home to Frome in Covid Group A where Brislington lost by 162 runs at Bath 2nds and Knowle, for whom skipper Oli Haynes was run out on 99, slipped up by seven wickets at home to Bath’s first XI.
Bedminster defeated Bishopston by 125 runs to finish top of Covid Group B, leapfrogging Bristol who completed their fixtures last week.
Joe Millard captured 3-7 from seven for Bedminster ahead of opener Tom Price’s patient unbeaten 44 getting his side over the line.