BEN Hopkins turned in a memorable all-round display as Quedgeley & Hardwicke closed in on the Division Six title in the AMS Gloucestershire County League with a 135-run victory away to nearest rivals Parkend.
The opener compiled his third century of the summer before he was eventually held for 106 off 134 (12 fours, four sixes), helping his side rally from 16-2 to total 235-7 with John Brown adding 73.
And Hopkins followed up with a return of 3-8 from six, combining with Mike Carratu (4-28), as Parkend folded to 100 all out.
Unbeaten Quedgeley & Hardwicke are now 37 points clear of Parkend with two rounds of matches to go.
It was much tighter at Haresfield Gladiators who edged Gloucester 2nds by one wicket, Tim Smith contributing a crucial unbeaten 30.
Chipping Sodbury clinched promotion from Division One back to WEPL with a dramatic one-wicket victory over to Chipping Campden.
The home side totalled only 138 but were clear favourites as Sodbury slid to 82-8 only for the tail to wag in style, including an unbroken stand of 25 for the final wicket as skipper Jamie Rendell finished on 20.
Cheltenham Civil Service remain second despite a five-wicket home setback against Kingsholm for whom Seb Pascoe (4-19) and opener Will Lowe (58) took centre stage.
Poulton boosted their hopes of avoiding the drop with a four-wicket home success over Westbury-on-Severn, Kieran Yould top scoring on 79. And Anthony James’ 118 off 119 (19 fours and a six) paved the way for Aston Ingham to dispatch Cheltenham 2nds by 44 runs.
Langford edged closer to the second promotion place from Division Two with a tense one-wicket home win over Great Rissington, Matt Bicker taking 4-15 before Ben Brown dug in for a vital unbeaten 23 off 61.
Leaders Lydney suffered a 21-run setback at Shurdington for whom Tom Knight was unbeaten on 101 off 83 (17 fours).
Raveesh Kumar’s 84 was in vain for Ullenwood Bharat in a five-wicket defeat away to Division Three leaders Fairford for whom Will Bowers was unbeaten on 56.
Matt Tuck’s unbeaten 102 and a return of 5-44 from Ashley Babbage helped Division Four promotion hopefuls Frocester 3rds close out a 40-run win away to Chipping Sodbury 2nds.
And Kingsholm 2nds edged closer to the Division Five title with a nine wicket home defeat of Birdlip & Brimpsfield, opener Shaun Uthup unbeaten on 65.
Whitminster scrambled out of the bottom side with a 158-run win away to fellow strugglers Witcombe, George Price and Adam Gibbs taking four wickets apiece.
Arcadians Nine Elms edged closer to the Division Seven title with an eight-wicket victory away to struggling St Philips North, opener Saravanan Narayanan unbeaten on 71. And Jonno Thompson’s burst of 4-19 from eight helped second place Down Hatherley see off Cam 2nds by 18 runs.
Image courtesy Mike Starling