THE Gloucestershire County League suffered a narrow two-wicket defeat against their Bristol & District counterparts at Chipping Sodbury in the inaugural clash for the GCB Challenge Trophy, writes Steve Hill.

John Stilwell, of Shirehampton, smashed a straight six with just eight balls to go to seal the spoils and bring an end to a closely contested game and hugely successful afternoon.

The man of the match award went to Old Bristolians Westbury all-rounder Chris Phillips who claimed 5-40 from seven overs of leg spin and followed up with 43 off 38 balls (five fours and a six) to tip the balance towards Bristol & District as they chased down their opponents’ 199-8 off 45 overs.

Clubmate Rupert Swetman weighed in with 25 while openers Tom Laver (Bradley Stoke) and Romesh Tenuwera (Bristol YMCA) both contributed 22.

Hamza Shahzad (Gloucester AIW Sports) claimed 3-34 off seven for the County League while there was also a return of 3-44 from Lydney’s Mike Toolis who earlier provided his side’s top score of 53.

Fellow opener Sam Nicholls (Chipping Campden) hit 39 and Chris Williams (Sheepscombe) thumped 33 off 25 balls for the County League who lost the toss.

It is now hoped that the match will become an annual event with Bristol hosting a return next year.

Winning captain John Colley, of Bristol YMCA, said: “It’s been a fantastic day and we’re already looking forward to defending the trophy next summer.”

County League counterpart Jamie Rendell, of Chipping Sodbury, added: “We’re disappointed to lose such a close game, but it’s been a great occasion and we’ve all enjoyed the chance to take part and represent the league.”