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.