Six-wicket Skidmore keeps it tight at top
Chris Skidmore produced one of the bowling displays of the summer to skittle Bristol for just 59 and keep Bridgwater locked in a battle with Bath for the Globe Sports West of England Premier League Premier One title.
The seamer gave his side the perfect start with an all-bowled hat-trick, dismissing Gloucestershire’s Jack Taylor, Charlie Walker and Will Tavare to reduce Bristol to 4-3.
And Skidmore then proceeded to hit the stumps three more times in rapid succession to finish with 6-12 from ten overs as the visitors sunk to 11-6, eventually reaching 59 all out as skipper Mike Coles weighed in with 3-17.
There was little sign of the fireworks to come earlier as Bristol, who lost the toss, restricted Bridgy to 206-7, Roger Sillence claiming 4-38 from ten as former Somerset all-rounder Stefan Jones (56 not) and Jon Vickery (47) shared a stand of 74 for the sixth wicket.
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Champions Bath, meanwhile, thumped Gloucester City Winget by 121 runs with Tom Stayt (50) and Lloyd Davies (5-26) starring.
And Downend are closing in on third place after securing an 89-run triumph at Taunton Deane.
In Premier Two, third-placed Keynsham’s promotion hopes receded with a 17-run home setback against Glastonbury. Paul Robbins was top scorer on 65 and wicketkeeper Alex Taylor hit 39 for Keynsham, who folded from 200-7 to 216 all out.
Earlier, Reg Keates (64) led Glastonbury to a total of 233-9 which included an extras tally of 54 featuring an eye-watering tally of 43 wides. Rich Pannell (4-60) and Robbins (3-64) struck for the home side.
Second-placed Goatacre put the pressure on leaders Ashcott & Shapwick with a five-wicket win over their title rivals.
Ben Rudge (64 not) guided Ashcott to a total of 148 before Brad Dawson (51) and opener Nick Pocock (40) patiently batted their way to the points.
Thornbury’s home date wth Chippenham and Weston-super-Mare’s clash against Warminster were cancelled.
Jamie Rendell returned career-best figures of 7-18 as newcomers Chipping Sodbury further boosted their hopes of avoiding the drop from Glos & Wilts with a second successive win, this time downing Trowbridge by 78 runs.
The 32-year-old spinner’s brother John had a hand in four of the dismissals, claiming two stumpings and holding on to two catches, including one spectacular effort down the leg side.
Trowbridge wilted from 79-2 to 104 all out after Sodbury had earlier battled to 182-7, opener Jamie Wakefield (42) top scoring.
Uphill Castle have given themselves a fighting chance of remaining in the Somerset division after edging Westlands Sports by three wickets.
George Cox (3-26) and Marcus Bail (3-30, both from ten) helped restrict Sports to 193 before Alex Winn (71 not) and Rob Tasker (52) dug in for Uphill who remain bottom but who are now level on points with Butleigh and only two behind eighth-placed Winscombe, who were rained out at home to Frome.
Stapleton thumped struggling Nailsea and took advantage of Timsbury’s surprise setback against Congresbury to go top of Bristol & North Somerset with only two more rounds of games to go.
An instant return to Bristol & Somerset is now within tantalising reach for Stapleton who will certainly deserve promotion if they follow up a run of five successive wins with two more triumphs ... away to Timsbury on Saturday and then away to local rivals Frenchay, who are fourth.
Batting was far from straightforward at Sleepy Hollow where opener Andy Chidgey’s grafting 48 from 81 balls helped his side build a useful total before skipper Danny Chard’s late assault produced a valuable unbeaten 40 in a total of 174-9 from a weather-reduced 40 overs.
Stapleton’s bowlers then put the squeeze on with Chard (3-15) tidying up the tail after earlier tight work from Ghulam Shabbir (2-14), Matt Leonard, Callum Sharp and Hamza Sultan Ali.
Timsbury, meanwhile, restricted Congresbury to a total of just 138 at home but then came up 11 runs shy.
Mick Edmunds (48) top scored for the visitors as Neil Hucker bagged 2-9 from ten overs. But batting was equally challenging for Timsbury despite the best efforts of Jez Hare (39) and Mark Sage (25).
Lansdown, in third, are still not totally out of the running thanks to an 82-run home triumph against Twyford House.
Jordan Price totally dominated the Bath team’s 254-9 with 103 (11 fours, 2 sixes) as Mark Wilson struck with 3-45.
James Dunning (5-23) then sparked a Twyford collapse from 150-4 to 172 all out by taking 5-23.
In Bristol & Somerset, meanwhile, leaders Clevedon were washed out, away to bottom side Bristol West Indians.
But any despair at the cancellation of a game that had maximum points written all over it was partially tempered later in the day when the news filtered through that Bishopston had secured a tremendous 54-run victory at second placed Minehead.
Mark Coombes (109) and Joe Wenham (55) laid the foundations for a third successive Bish win with an opening stand of 154 as their side eventually battled to total 214.
The visitors then made a magnificent start with the ball, paceman Ryan Adams striking twice to reduce Minehead to 0-3, a position from which they never recovered as George Harris (4-24) and skipper John Stilwell (3-22) kept the heat on.
The result means Clevedon are six points clear of Minehead, who they now entertain in a high-octane clash on Saturday (12.30pm).
Bedminster emerged seven-wicket victors at Old Bristolians Westbury who were whipped out for 90 after losing the toss by John Busby (4-20), James Carter (2-16) and Rob Cunliffe (2-29).
Sam Baird (29) and Ralph Hardwick (43 not) then saw Bedminster home in less than 17 overs. In the only other game in this division to defeat the weather, Brislington went down by 64 runs at home to Taunton, Geoff Iles top scoring on 75.