HALF-CENTURIES from openers Gareth Williams and Will Rudd and an excellent bowling performance led by paceman Ross Jeffels lifted Cirencester back into second place in Division One of the county league after a decisive eight-wicket home victory over local rivals Poulton.

Readers Glos CCL Div One

Cirencester 154-2

Poulton 151 all out

The visitors, struggling at the foot of the table, elected to bat first in The Park but were quickly made to regret the decision as Jeffels ripped out the first three wickets in a hostile opening spell.

With Billy Breen bowling equally effectively without initial reward at the other end, Poulton found early runs hard to come by but gradually got back into the contest thanks to a half-century stand between Robbie James and Faizal Beeri.

Bob Lamble came into the attack to clean bowl James for 24 and after Williams’off spin had removed James Tait, caught by Bram Coleman, Lamble claimed his second wicket as he had Poulton skipper Jon Maunder caught.

Faizal, who had kept Poulton in the hunt, was run out for 76 and the tail proved no match for the return of Jeffels and Breen who each claimed a further scalp to limit the visitors to 151 all out.

Jeffels finished with a splendid 4-16 return, while Lamble's 2-30 was his best bowling performance for the senior side.

Williams and Rudd encountered few problems when they began the Town reply, Williams in particular scoring freely although he had one lucky escape when deflecting a ball on to his stumps only to see the bails remain in place.

They soon rattled up a half-century stand and were more than halfway to the target when the darkening skies turned to heavy rain which curtailed play for more than 40 minutes.

On returning, the opening pair continued their flourishing stand which quickly moved past the century mark.

The introduction of Faizal finally brought a breakthrough as Williams edged a catch to slip on 51, and when Will Mason was trapped leg before off the next ball, Poulton were given a glimmer of hope.

However, it was quickly snuffed out as Jock Jamieson-Black joined Rudd to see off the remaining runs, victory coming with 18 overs to spare.

Rudd came off unbeaten after a confident 69.