PIRATES continue their dominance of Division 1 of the Puriton and District Skittles League with a 63-pin win at King William against Barstewards.

They are now seven points clear of the new second placed team Crown, who managed a last gasp two-pin win over Farmer Boys, who have run out of steam since Christmas.

Keith Morgan did the damage for Crown with 81 and although Paul Mantelow hit 83 for Farmer Boys, it was not quite enough.

With Pirates so far ahead, the race for second place is hotting up, with five teams within three points of each other after Stop- Outs managed a twopin defeat of Knowle Otters after being 16 down with three hands to go.

Somerset Vaults lost at Crown Jewels, who had Colin Nutman in fine form with a 72 and the other team in the mix, Crusaders, having a bye.

At the bottom, Polden Bears won the battle of the bottom two, with a fine 53-pin defeat of Old Railway, with a terrific 75 from Derek Hooper.

They now move above Knowle Otters and are only one point behind fourth-frombottom Wanderers, whose recent good form has deserted them again in losing by 55 at home to Foxes & Ferrets, who had John Fletcher as top scorer with 71.

In Division 2, top team Wasters suffered only their fourth defeat of the season, being narrowly beaten by Wheatsheaf Boys.

Captain Mike Baumgardt did his best to avoid defeat with spares on his last two hands in his total of 73, but it was three short of the target.

Nomads won the battle of the next two teams and move to within five of Wasters and three ahead of the team they defeated, Polden Turkeys.

Phil Coggins was the hero for Nomads with an impressive 86, which included four spares, followed by Russell Burt with 74.

Dave Tucker scored an impressive 76 for Swannies at the lowscoring George Hotel alley, to help them defeat Odd Squad by 34.

In the first semi-final of the Knock-out Cup, Pirates scored a fantastic 563 at the Ring o’Bells, Moorlynch, to defeat Crusaders by 34.

Andrew Pole top scored with 86, which included two third-ball floppers, followed by Mike Villis on 78 and Shane Hewart with 74; although Nick Haggett hit 83 and Brian Scott 75, this was not enough.

In the other semifinal, the battle of the Division 2 teams resulted in a 20-pin win for Nomads, with Phil Coggins once again top scoring with 63.

In the Second Chance Cup, Division 2 team Landlords Rejects caused the shock of the night by beating Division 1 Foxes & Ferrets by 11 with contributions of 67 from Scott Gardiner and 65 from Carl Goymer. Although Robert Simpson hit 73 for the defeated team, his captain Sean Woodward had an off night and only hit 48.

The Rejects will play Stop-Outs in the final after they managed to overcome Knowle Otters by 28, thanks to a 74 from Harold Stone, including three consecutive spares – that was 15 more than anybody on either side could muster.