ISLAMNABI Ahmadzai finished with five wickets, including a hat-trick, and there was also a five-wicket haul for Northamptonshire’s Alex Russell as Stroud romped to an important 153-run win away to Burbage & Easton Royal in WEPL’s Premier Two Glos/Wilts division.
Seamer Ahmadzai devastated Burbage’s top order, capturing four wickets in five balls en route to a haul of 5-24. And 20-year-old leg spinner Russell, who was released last year by Gloucestershire, finished with fine figures of 5-14 from 8.3 overs as the village side were bowled out for only 103.
Burbage, in fact, will be glad that they don’t have to face Russell again this summer as he grabbed 5-6 when these sides met back in May.
Stroud remain second bottom with six more rounds of games to go but crucially closed the gap on the teams above them after opener Ewan Gegg (61) and brother and captain Louis (50) had earlier top scored in their side’s total of 256-8 after winning the toss.
Frocester slipped off the top following a 48-run reverse at Corsham, Devlin Webb thumping 105 off 89 (12 fours, six sixes) in a losing cause.
Opener Noah Cooper Llanes was unbeaten on exactly 100 for Cheltenham who went down by two wickets at home to bottom side Warminster while Corse & Staunton finished 56 runs short at home to Goatacre and Hatherley & Reddings were shot out for 70 and a 162-run humbling at Marshfield.
Thornbury made it three in a row in Premier One with a tense one-wicket victory away to Bedminster, Chris Matthews the hero with an unbeaten 56 including the winning boundary through backward point with two balls to spare.
Bristol, the unbeaten Premier Two Bristol/Somerset leaders, overcame Ilminster by seven wickets, opener Miles Kantolinna hitting 49 not out.
Golden Hill moved up two places to fifth with an 81-run derby success at Bishopston, Harry Thomas (50) and Josh Beal (49) shining with the bat before Zeeshan Malik and captain Daz Ahmed took three wickets apiece.
Winterbourne remain ninth but closed in on their drop zone rivals with a 78-run home victory against fellow strugglers Frome, Gloucestershire’s James Bracey contributing 67 for his village club.
Oliver Jackson bagged 4-29 to help pave the way for Downend to see off Shapwick & Polden by five wickets.
Leaders Painswick suffered a 32-run home reverse against nearest rivals Dumbleton in the Gloucestershire division, Tommy Boorman (65) and Dan Holland (5-24) making important contributions.
Cirencester, in third place, dispatched Apperley by five wickets, Oli Thornley top scoring on 58, while Mark Whitney was unbeaten on 99 for Bourton Vale who overcame Charlton Kings by 71 runs.
Scott Montgomery (85) and Thom Wilshaw (5-42) shone for Gloucester who were 122-run victors at Tewkesbury, and Frocester 2nds defeated Rockhampton by 68 runs.
Lowly Old Bristolians Westbury stunned leaders Congresbury with a three-wicket victory that allowed Keynsham to grab pole position in the Bristol & North Somerset division.
Stars for OB Westbury were opener Fin Yates who dug in for an unbeaten 93 from 136 (six fours) and Rupert Swetman, who contributed 54 from only 29.
Congresbury’s slip allowed Keynsham to take top spot courtesy of an eight-wicket derby triumph at Brislington.
Opener Charlie Brain’s unbeaten 104 off 146 (14 fours) plus 50 from Milo Ayres helped Bris total 274-7 after losing the toss but Keynsham were equal to the task.
Knowle stay third following a 62-run win at bottom side Bradley Stoke, and fourth placed Twyford House remain in contention after a 141-run home hammering of Bath 2nds.
Richard Trotman, who recently marked his England Over 50s debut with a record-breaking 148 not out, continued his excellent form with 106 off 71 (12 fours, five sixes).
Bristol 2nds, meanwhile, saw off their Bedminster counterparts by 32 runs, Lisle Durrans (85) and Shamod Athulathmudali (70) amongst the runs.