Clevedon capture league title despite defeat by Downend

PUBLISHED: 11:13 29 August 2018

Matt Carpenter.

Matt Carpenter.

Archant

Despite being defeated by third-placed Downend, Clevedon have won the West of England Premier League with one game remaining.

Downend 229-9

Clevedon 186

Piers McBride bombarded by sixes

Well I’m afraid the open top bus must be put on hold for the time being as Clevedon somehow contrived to play more like chumps than champs while bowing the knee to a fired-up third in the table Downend.

With skipper Jake Lintott on 20-20 quarter-final duty for Gloucestershire against Worcestershire on Saturday, Clevedon were in safe hands as Masoor Khan took over the leadership reins.

Opting to bat first in benign conditions, Downend found themselves up to their necks in night-soil as Danny Williams set about them first up. With unerring accuracy he decimated the top order with a breathtaking exhibition of quality pace bowling and he completed his allotted 10-over spell with figures of 4-30 leaving the home side clutching for straws at 37-5.

The first indication of defiance appeared when Craig Miles and skipper Matthew Jackson added 35 for the sixth wicket, but Clevedon seemed to be in control as at 72-6, Downend looked headed for certain defeat.

Such was not the case though as captain Matthews, run-a-ball 75 and number eight Oliver Curill (41), got down to business in a breathtaking stand of 87, which included eight fours and seven sixes.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Callum Gregory and Phil Jackson, numbers nine and 10, smote three sixes each into the adjoining churchyard and the home side duly completed a remarkable transition from penury to riches, leaving a bewildered Clevedon to wonder where it all went wrong.

Spinners Dominic Bess (1-36) and Will Thirkell (1-37) shared 20 thrifty overs, but Mas Khan (1-43), Jake Rowe (2-46) and Matt Carpenter were made to pay dearly as the innings drew to a close.

On the plus side the visitors gave a magnificent display in the field. With ‘keeper Will Plummer, surefooted and dependable behind the stumps leading by example, Clevedon never wilted despite being tormented by the Downend tail.

Following tea, openers Masoor Khan (24) and Dominic Bess (11), swiftly added 25 for the first wicket, but there was little of any real substance after that. Harry Ellison appeared to be in excellent form until being caught in the deep for 23 and Cam Harding made 27 only to fall lbw when appearing well set.

The most fluent partnership was the ninth wicket stand of 38 involving Will Thirkell (15) and Matt Carpenter (26) and together they secured two valuable batting points before the final curtain fell at 186.

Clevedon missed their skipper Jake Lintott, but his absence should not detract from the outstanding efforts of Downend’s spirited lower order. The hosts proved to be worthy opponents and deserving winners.

So a bit of a let down for the travelling faithful, but disappointment was tempered by the news that closest rivals Bath had been thwarted by the rain against Frocester and as a result their haul of just 11 points ensured that Clevedon could no longer be caught at the top of the table.

Something of an anti-climax really, but the league champions will now be able to close this remarkable season in front of their own supporters on Dial Hill this coming Saturday when Potterne come to call.

There will be much to celebrate as the season draws to a close this weekend for not only have Jake Lintott’s men enjoyed the club’s greatest-ever season, but Mark Bibbing’s 2nd X1, Steve Bennett’s 3rd X1 and Andy Ford’s 4th X1 have all gained promotion to complete the most memorable summer in the club’s history.

An open top bus led by a marching band will no doubt be greeted joyfully by ecstatic Clevedon residents who will surely line the streets to pay homage to their cricketing heroes once the date has been announced.

WEPL One standings, all played 17: Clevedon 290 pts; Bath 257; Downend 240; Potterne 239; Bristol 216; Bridgwater 195; Bedminster 193; Taunton St Andrews 180; Frocester 163; Goatacre 148.

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