BRISTOL are heading back to the top flight after sealing the WEPL Premier Two Bristol/Somerset title with three rounds of games to go following a 19-run home defeat of Winterbourne.
Sam Bracey did his best to spoil the party with a terrific 102 off 94 (11 fours, two sixes) but his dismissal, with nine balls to go in the pursuit of a target of 309, finally enabled Bristol to close out this latest win.
Louie Shaw, outstanding all year with bat and ball, captured 3-31 from ten overs of spin after earlier hitting 52 for Bristol.
Golden Hill made it four in a row with a four-wicket home success over Midsomer Norton to move up to second while Bishopston went down by four wickets at home to Shapwick & Polden despite 4-28 from ten from Will Thirkell.
Downend appear to be safe following a six-wicket home victory over bottom side Frome, captain Callum Loud (5-25) and Ollie Louch (4-22) shining as their Somerset visitors were skittled for 129.
Tim Griffiths finished with fabulous figures of 7-40 from eight to help pave the way for Charlton Kings to dispatch Apperley by five wickets in the Gloucestershire division.
The seventh best bowling performance throughout the entire league this summer restricted the division’s bottom side to 230-9 before captain Liam Brignull (58) and Rob Horn (52 not) saw Kings over the line with almost 15 overs to spare.
Dan Holland, meanwhile, compiled only the second double century this season in WEPL, finishing unbeaten on exactly 200, as Dumbleton trumped Cirencester by eight wickets.
Jono Jamieson-Black (101) took Ciren to 300-8, but opener Holland dominated Dumbleton’s reply in magnificent style, facing 171 balls and striking 17 fours and 12 sixes.
Dumbleton remain second in the race for the one promotion spot behind Painswick who edged Frocester 2nds by two wickets, opener George MacDuff top scoring on 85.
It was even tighter at Bourton Vale who emerged three-run victors at home to Tewkesbury, captain Charlie Garratt hitting 87 and Will Faulkner taking 4-37 from ten.
Skipper Martin Cropper’s burst of 5-28 in ten was in vain for Rockhampton who slumped to a 99-run reverse at home to Gloucester.
Thornbury remain seventh in Premier One but far from secure following a four-wicket home defeat against Bath who are champions in all but name for the first time since 2017.
Opener Josh Riggs cracked 91 off 71 (12 fours, three sixes) to dominate Thornbury’s challenge of 216 which Bath chased down with almost seven overs to spare despite Praneel Choughule’s 3-42 from ten.
Bedminster stay third despite a 127-run home defeat against Taunton St Andrews.
Frocester and Goatacre remain locked together on the same number of points at the top of Premier Two Glos/Wilts … setting the scene perfectly for a potential title play off between the rivals at Pounds Close on Saturday.
Frocester were 115-run victors away to neighbours Stroud, Nathan Rose Innes capturing 5-14 from nine, while Goatacre trumped Corsham by 86 runs.
Worcestershire’s Gareth Roderick top scored on 80 in Cheltenham’s two-wicket success at Corse & Staunton while Hatherley & Reddings saw off Warminster by 37 runs, opener Lesego Senokwane’s 101 coming off 112 (13 fours).
In Bristol & North Somerset, Knowle remain in the promotion chase following an 11-run victory away to OB Westbury while Brislington trumped Bristol 2nds by 36 runs, Milo Ayres unbeaten on 82.
Relegation battling Bedminster 2nds and Bradley Stoke both suffered reverses, to Bath 2nds and Keynsham, respectively, and Twyford House tumbled to a 73-run home setback against Congresbury.