CAPTAIN Nitin Shetty led from the front with a superb 138 and figures of 2-24 for Birdlip & Brimpsfield who held off Oldlands by 36 runs to record a long-awaited first win of the summer in Division Five of the AMS Gloucestershire County League.
The all-rounder faced 126 balls at the top of the order, hitting 17 fours and five sixes, to totally dominate his side’s 243-5.
Alfie Burt (5-34 from eight) then led the charge with the ball, assisted by Shetty, as Birdlip closed out the victory although they remain bottom of the table, five points behind Oldlands, with two rounds of games to go.
Bowling performance of the day came in Division Two where George Garratt was another skipper in inspirational form, for leaders Great Rissington who held off Cam by three wickets.
The left-arm seamer finished with an excellent return of 7-15 from 8.2 overs as Cam were bowled out for 119 ahead of Rissington moving a step closer towards the title and promotion as they banked 18 points.
There was a surprise defeat in Division One for leaders Aston Ingham at home to bottom side Apperley who romped in by 104 runs.
Opener Matty Williams’ 85 saw the visitors to 184 all out, and it proved to be plenty as Elliot Hayward (4-15) and Marcus Ridal (4-32) made inroads.
The new pacemakers are Langford courtesy of a four-wicket home triumph against Hawkesbury Upton, while Rockhampton kept alive their hopes of bouncing straight back to WEPL with a seven-wicket triumph at Chipping Campden, Tiger Sherred-Isles taking 3-20 from nine.
There was a strong individual performance at Westbury-on-Severn where Devin Rogers dug in for a patient 51 from 93 and followed up with 4-3 from three to help clinch a 126-run home win against Kingsholm.
In Division Three, opener Mahesh Shetty pounded an unbeaten 125, batting all 35 overs and striking six fours and eight sixes, for Ullenwood Bharat who overwhelmed Woodpeckers by 163 runs.
And in Division Six, Ali Smith’s 119 at the top of the order paved the way for Haresfield Gladiators to dispatch Eastcombe by 238 runs, Noaman Ansari following up with 4-11 from five.
Down Hatherley suffered a first reverse of the summer after being dismissed for 91 ahead of succumbing to a seven-wicket setback against Cheltenham 3rds.
But King’s Stanley marched on at the top of Division Seven with a 15-run home win against Eldersfield, captain Jamie Bish finishing with 4-21.
THE battle between Tewkesbury and Dumbleton for the one promotion place from WEPL’s Gloucestershire division is warming up nicely … ahead of the two sides going head-to-head on Saturday in the penultimate round of matches.
Tewkesbury, who have sat in pole position from week two, are now only six points clear of their rivals after suffering a 15-run home reverse against Bourton Vale on yet another Saturday when rain had a big impact on proceedings.
And that means a terrific amount is now riding on Dumbleton’s visit to Gander Lane ahead of the campaign concluding on the following weekend.
Captain Charlie Garratt (58) and James Vlaeminck (42) shared an opening stand of 96 for Bourton Vale who were eventually dismissed for 170, Wade Ridsdale claiming 4-19 from nine.
Rain interruptions meant the home side were then set a target of 172 from 48 but came up short as Jordan Price (4-18) led the charge, Garratt following up with 2-9 and Will Faulkner taking 2-26.
Dumbleton kept the pressure on with a five-wicket home success against bottom side Cheltenham Civil Service, Aaron Tomson finishing with 4-7 from six.
Fellow strugglers Cirencester and Charlton Kings also lost, to Chipping Sodbury and Gloucester, respectively, while Frocester 2nds trumped neighbours Stroud by six wickets, Dan Whincup unbeaten on 96.
In Premier One, Frocester were edged out by nine runs at home to Bedminster despite a fine return of 6-32 from six by Max Dunne, while Bristol cruised past Bridgwater by nine wickets, Louie Shaw claiming 4-22 and Nic Halstead Cleak unbeaten on 72.
The promotion race in Premier Two Glos/Wilts is also going down to the wire. Thornbury started the day at the top of the table but, despite a seven-wicket home win over Goatacre, now find themselves in second place despite having the same number of points as Burbage & Easton Royal, who have won one game more.
Hatherley & Reddings, in third, lost ground with a ten-wicket humbling at Royal Wootton Bassett and are now 19 points behind the top two.
But next up for Hatherley is a home date on Saturday against Thornbury who end their season with a potential winners-take-all home clash against Burbage.
Painswick, whose top scorer was Luke Woolway on 96, used eight bowlers to no avail in a five-wicket setback away to Cheltenham for whom Chris Williams top scored on 78.
The top two in Premier Two Bristol/Somerset both won but leaders Bishopston were able to extend their advantage over Golden Hill from 14 to 19 points … ahead of the two sides meeting on Saturday.
Bish secured 20 points from a 120-run thumping of third-placed Clevedon while Golden Hill could bank only 15 from a 20-run victory in a rain-curtailed clash at Keynsham.
Matt Jackson, meanwhile, produced one of the bowling spells of the day to finish with 3-7 from ten, paving the way for Downend’s six-wicket win at Midsomer Norton.
In Bristol & North Somerset, Knowle moved out of the bottom two with a potentially priceless six-wicket win away to Bristol 2nds, Curtis Blakemore taking 4-28 and captain Joe Brimble compiling an unbeaten 50.
Winterbourne slipped back into the drop zone with a 38-run home reverse against leaders Congresbury, and bottom side Frenchay suffered an agonising one-wicket setback in a thriller away to Bedminster 2nds, No 11 Sam Bowen hitting the winning boundary with just four balls to spare.