Director of Nailsea CC Gary Phippen said to win three promotions in a row is “special” after his side picked up a comprehensive six-wicket win against Stoke Bishop to claim the Bristol & District Division 10 title with a game to go last Saturday,  writes Joshua Thomas.

With the imminent threat of unsavoury weather ever present, Nailsea asked the visitors to bat first. Sure enough, after 11 deliveries, the heavens opened and the players headed back to the pavilion at the Grove Sports Centre.

After a lengthy break, the game was reduced to 29 overs per side. On resumption, Stoke Bishop lost both openers to captain James Taylor, 2-11 and David Wade taking 2-19, aided by excellent catches from Tony Hill and Steve Spencer, as the visitors were quickly reduced to 19-4.

Despite a steady recovery, wickets for Zarweis Safi, 1-22 and Pete Hardcastle, 1-30, as well as a tidy spell of six overs for just 14 from Hill meant that Stoke Bishop reached a modest 101-6 wickets at the break. 

In reply, Nailsea lost Gary Phippen early on for six, but with Rupert Kelly playing beautifully at the top of the order, firstly Nilesh Vaz with a rapid 25 and Wade with a couple of sixes in his brisk 19, kept the momentum firmly with the hosts. 

Harry Welshman went for six, but with Gregg Howett hitting 14 not out, including the winning runs, and Kelly remaining unbeaten on a classy 31 not out, Nailsea sped to victory.

It marks a remarkable rise for Nailsea after nearly going out of business in 2020 to picking up two successive runners-up positions before picking up the crown.

“Finally winning the league this year after two close encounters is a great feeling,” said Phippen 

“Three promotions in a row has been quite special considering the club almost folded three years ago.

“This just shows the hard work that our volunteers have put in to grow this club into something special again.

“Next season, hopefully we can push for another great season next year.”

With one final trip to come at Backwell Flax Bourton for their final game of the season this Saturday, everyone at Nailsea can be very proud of another successful campaign.

“Hopefully we can finish that on a high with a win, Phippen said. 

“We had a good draw against them last time so will be nice to finish in style.”