Relegation threat mounts

Writing is on the wall as Uphill Castle slide to another defeat

UPHILL Castle played host to Bedminster and, after winning the toss, invited the visitors to bat.

The youthful opening seam attack of George Cox (3-61) and Mike Hudson (2-67) bowled an excellent opening spell and the pressure was rewarded when they removed the openers, giving Castle the early advantage. However, Rob Cunliffe (33) and Khanapurkar (26) were able to push the score on before being removed by Matt Kearsey (2-44). Slocombe bowled well without luck, and Hamid scored a classy half century to push Bedmister past the 200 mark.

Cox and Hudson returned to bowl at the death but some lusty blows down the order enabled Bedminster to amass 242 from their 50 overs.

Castle’s reply started poorly, batting out five maidens on the bounce and losing last week’s century-maker Andre Belcher for a duck.

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Skipper Jon Lambert (17) looked to play his shots but was undone by a good delivery that nipped back to take his off-stump. Chris Davidson then went without scoring, which brought Luke Bliss to the crease.

He and John Davidson put on a valuable 106-run stand. Although with seven runs an over required from the final 15, Castle looked in a strong position to complete the chase. The crucial turning point came when Bliss went lbw despite it looking like he had hit the ball first. He made a valuable 49 and set up an exciting finish.

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Davidson continued to play his shots and went past 50 in fine style before he holed out for a dogged 63. With two new batsmen in it was too much to ask and, despite good efforts from Moseling (11 not out) and Cox (17), Castle went for damage limitation and made sure they passed the 175 mark to secure three important batting points.

Castle’s man of the match went to John Davidson for his efforts with the bat, but special mention must go to Kearsey who only went for 44 from his 12 overs.

Castle travel to fellow strugglers OBWs on Saturday, knowing anything short of a win will mean relegation.

* THE 2nd XI travelled to Bedminster for yet another bottom-of-the-table clash and produced a spirited display before slipping to a 29-run defeat.

Having won the toss Uphill put their hosts into bat and they got off to a confident start putting on 53 for the first wicket. Mark Patch bagged the wicket with the first ball of his spell. But Bedminster continued to score plenty of runs with the help of some dropped catches and closed on 263-4 from their 45 overs. The wickets went to Mark Patch, Tony Moore and Gareth Williams.

Uphill’s innings got off to steady start with Seb Winn (48) and Mark Hodder (7) putting on 25 for the first wicket. Gareth Williams (17) and Andy Llewellyn (10) kept the score moving before 15-year-old debutant Jake Llewellyn (30) joined Ian Tasker (63) and put on 73 runs for the fifth wicket.

With the loss of Llewellyn, Tasker was joined by another 15-year-old, Kieron Ward (14 not out). When man of the match Tasker fell Ward was joined by veteran Mark Patch and the Uphill innings closed on 234-8.

* Uphill Cavaliers lost at home to top-of-the-table Bishops Lydeard by six wickets.

Put into bat, openers Kyran Davidson (14) and Nigel Cook (16) least weathered the early storm on a helpful wicket for the bowlers, surviving the first 10 overs and putting the odd loose ball away.

Visiting skipper Brian Stone then caused damage with his left arm spin, extracting prodigious turn to claim 4-17 from his 12 overs. The experienced pair of Dave Bickell and Bob Hurford then turned things around with a patient 50 partnership, first seeing off Stone and then taking the attack to the other less experienced bowlers.

However, just as Castle threatened to really take the initiative, Bickell was caught on the boundary for 44 in the 39th over. Cavaliers were then restricted to just 23 from the last six overs, finishing on 129-5, with Hurford finishing unbeaten on 25.

Once again, Uphill produced a creditable performance in the field. Andy Leech and James Holt bowled tightly and were unlucky not to claim the wickets of the openers.

The introduction of spinners George Chapman and Bob Hurford created some chances which were spurned and Lydeard progressed to 90 before the first wicket fell when Rob Owen stumped Contreas off Hurford, who then bowled the dangerous Skuse for 66. Two more wickets followed, both caught by Dave Bickell, off Chapman (1-35) and Hurford (3-45), but the visitors eased home in 32nd over.

Man of the match was the evergreen Dave Bickell.

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