Uphill lose out in top-of-the-table clash

UPHILL Castle travelled to Chard for a must-win game against the league leaders knowing that victory would put them back in the hunt for promotion with three fixtures remaining.

UPHILL Castle travelled to Chard for a must-win game against the league leaders knowing that victory would put them back in the hunt for promotion with three fixtures remaining.

After winning the toss, Sam Trego elected to bowl first, backed by a large group of travelling supporters. Chris Davidson struggled early on but from the other end Mike Hudson was able to make the breakthrough removing Tilley well caught at point by Jon Lambert and clean bowled Kuhn shortly afterwards after a fast scoring start for Chard.

An injury to Dalwood brought Wells-Burr to the crease, who lasted just six balls when he was bowled by Trego. This signalled a collapse for Chard as Trego and Bail removed the middle order before a brief fight back from the lower order was ended by Davidson taking the final two wickets. Opener Glentworth (34) and Dalwood (32*) were the pick of the batsmen while Trego and Hudson picked up three wickets each.

Uphill's innings got off to the worst possible start as Steve Cooke played on first ball driving at Sochon. Jon Lambert followed, caught behind in the next over, leaving Castle at 7-2.

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Chris Davidson and Trego began rebuilding the innings, looking to tick over the scoreboard, Trego particularly seeking to dominate the bowlers. Davidson cracked consecutive boundaries to end the 15th over at 50-2 with both looking comfortable.

The introduction of spin proved fruitless despite the danger of the slope and some ridiculous appealing until Davidson was run out by a direct hit for 16. This was the turning point in the game, as the new batsmen struggled to get the ball away against some tight bowling. Trego brought up his 50 and then survived a stumping due to a no ball. Trego rightly stood his ground and continued playing his shots before eventually being bowled for 67 with 60 runs still required for victory.

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With a win still in sight and batsmen in the hut, a victory was still possible, but with regular wickets tumbling, Castle could not get a significant partnership to take them over the line and were bowled out for 125.

With promotion hopes now gone, Castle need to look to finish the season on a winning note and push hard for second place. Forte Financial man of the match goes to Sam Trego.

This week Castle entertain local rivals Cheddar hoping to repeat the performance from their previous encounter.

Castle 2nds entertained second placed Westland Sports 2nds in a top of the table clash that was likely to decide winners of Division 2 of the Somerset League 2nd XI competition.

On winning the toss, the visitors elected to bat as Tipler and visiting skipper Dominic Rowe took the attack to the home bowling as Westlands raced to 45 without loss after seven overs.

Alex Winn then ended the eight-over partnership when he bowled Tipler for nine. Winn (6-1-1-2) repeated the feat in his next over when he bowled Rowe for 32 as Westlands were pegged back to 50-2.

Uphill then began to turn the screw on the visitors as change bowlers Pete Jobling and Gary Kennedy bowled economical spells, the pressure telling as Watts was run out for one.

Despite Uphill not capturing their next wicket until the 26th over, Jobling and Kennedy (6-1-10-0) slowed the run rate down to a crawl as only 20 runs were conceded in 12 overs, including four consecutive maidens as Westlands found themselves 71-3 after 24 overs.

George Cox was then re-introduced into the attack and he ended the fourth wicket partnership of 35 between Still and Reeves when he bowled Still for 16 with an excellent slower ball, Jobling got his just deserts in the next over as he bowled Reeves for 14 to leave Westlands struggling at 88-5.

From this point onwards, Cox and Jobling were ruthless as they took the last five wickets between them for only 21 runs. Cox and Jobling were aided and abetted by some excellent fielding, the highlights of which were a good low catch from Winn and a stunning one-handed catch at slip from Rob Owen.

Cox finished with the figures of 11-1-54-4, but the pick of the bowling was Jobling as he finished with superb figures of 10.3-4-17-3 as Westlands were all out for 109 in the 34th over.

In reply, Uphill were conscious of the need to keep as many wickets in hand as possible in order to maximise their advantage over the visitors. To this end, openers Mark Hodder and Chris Disney batted responsibly to see Uphill safely through to tea with no wickets down.

Disney and Hodder continued in this vein after tea in a century partnership that featured solid defence and clinical stroke play when any loose deliveries were offered. During the partnership, Disney notched up his sixth score of 50 or more of the season.

With only five needed to win, Disney was bowled by Watts for 52 made from 67 deliveries, including six fours and a rare six and it was left to Hodder to see Uphill to victory as he finished on 45 not out from 78 deliveries with seven fours.

Uphill's victory by nine wickets saw them take 35 points to their opponents six and extend their lead over Westlands to 69 points with only three matches remaining.

Although special mention should be made of the batting efforts of Disney and Hodder, the Forte Financial man of the match was Pete Jobling for his excellent spell of bowling.

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