PIRATES strengthened their position at the top of Division 1 in the Puriton & District Skittles League without playing, as their nearest rivals, Farmer Boys, lost by 10 pins at Woolavington Boys.

Pirates are six points clear and have had all their bye weeks.

However, the chase behind them warmed up with three teams now only one point behind Farmer Boys.

Both Somerset Vaults and Crown had good home wins and Crusaders gained three points with an away win at Foxes and Ferrets.

The Vaults thanked Tony Slade, who had four consecutive spares in his 79, to defeat Stopouts by 26.

Crown scored 505 on their home alley in defeating Wanderers by 17, 15 of which were pulled on the last hand, and Crusaders had Bert Beasley in fine form with a three-spare 77 in their win over Foxes and Ferrets.

Polden Bears moved off the bottom after a 13-pin defeat of Barstewards, who started badly and were 32 down before pulling back 19 on the last two hands, but not enough to win.

Old Railway replaced Polden Bears at the bottom after losing to Knowle Otters on a rain-sodden alley at the Knowle Inn.

In Division 2, Wasters continued their domination after defeating Ruggerites by 29 on their home alley, with captain Mike Baumgardt again leading the way with a top score 62.

Nearest chasers Nomads did close the gap slightly with an away win at Rofugees, with Andy Bond getting 69.

Polden Turkeys won at home to Swannies, with Harry Dedman making the difference as his 64 was the only score out of 16 players not in the 50s. They are now third, one point behind Nomads, but seven clear of fourthplaced Wheatsheaf Boys, who could not carry on their recent winning form in losing at Three Cees, despite scoring 88 on the last hand, which only pulled three.

In the closest match of the night, Herdsmen could not quite get the 69 they needed on the last hand and lost by three at Odd Squad and remain rooted to the bottom of the division.

Results: Division 1 – Pirates bye; Woolavington Boys 467 (Chris Turner/Mike Oxman 66), Farmer Boys 457 (Simon Puddy 63); Crown 505 (Barry Vincent 72), Wanderers 488 (Sam Tincknell 74); Foxes & Ferrets 469 (Mike Simpson 68), Crusaders 491 (Bert Beasley 77); Bye, Crown Jewels; Somerset Vaults 483 (Tony Slade 79), Stop-Outs 457 (Peter Beavan 63); Knowle Otters 446 (Steve Harris 68), Old Railway 407 (Dave Gordon 56); Polden Bears 501 (John Williams 75), Barstewards 488 (Adrian Barnett 75).

Division 2 – Odds and Sods bye; Cross Your Hart 459 (Ebby Amarto 66), Huntspill Boys 498 (Toby Franklin 78); Haymakers 449 (Colin Durston/Charlie Kidner 66), Landslords Rejects 436 (Carl Goymer 65); Rofugees 419 (Nic Alford/Nic Taylor/Dave Cudlipp 60), Nomads 447 (Andy Bond 69); Wasters 419 (Mike Baumgardt 62), Ruggerites 389 (Ian Chedzey 57); Oddsquad 427 (James Vowles 60), Herdsmen 424 (Dave Deller 62); Polden Turkeys 432 (Harry Dedman 64), Swannies 419 (Dave Tucker 56); Three Cee's 482 (Nigel Dawson 67), Wheatsheaf Boys 468 (Ben Richards 65).