PIRATES continue their inevitable march to the Puriton & District Skittles League Division 1 title with another impressive win, this time by 59 pins over bottom team Old Railway.

Captain Roger Palfrey led the way with 79, closely followed by James Higgins on 78.

The chase for second gets closer with six teams within three points of each other after Foxes & Ferrets joined the fray with a tremendous away win at second placed Crown, with Les Macriner top scoring with 72 and Mike Gibbons helping with a 68.

This defeat for Crown enabled Stop Outs to join them in second after defeating in-form Polden Bears by 25at Crown, Catcott. Stop Outs had Tom Bennett in fine form with 71, just pipping Pete Beavan’s 70 to win the tote.

Somerset Vaults are only one point adrift of these two after a comfortable home win over Crusaders, who seemed to struggle on the Bason Bridge alley as they only scored two spares all night.

Farmer Boys had a bye this week and are now two points behind Crown & Stop Outs.

At the bottom, with Old Railway and Polden Bears being defeated, Knowle Otters moved level with the Bears after a 19-pin win over Crown Jewels with Sean Tippets and Rob Matthews both scoring 60.

Although Colin Pople scored 68 for the visitors, he was not helped by his teammates, with John Grogan the only player getting more than 50.

In Division 2, Wasters got back to winning ways with a 24-pin defeat of bottom team Herdsmen, but are now only four points clear of second placed Nomads, who had a 36-pin win at Odd Squad.

Nomads are themselves four points clear of Polden Turkeys, who had a last-gasp win at home to Landlords Rejects, who only needed 16 from the last two players to win, but Iain Sparkes and Scott Gardiner could only get six each to let the Turkeys off the hook.

Top individual score of the night was by James Briggers of Odds & Sods with an 86, but it could not help his team defeat Wheatsheaf Boys, who had Jake Budden top scoring with 76.

This win enabled Wheatsheaf Boys to stay in fourth place, once again four points behind the team ahead.

Rofugees nearly pulled off the comeback of the night – they were 21 down after six hands, but hit their top score of the game on the seventh to set Huntspill Boys a target which they toiled to get.

However, James Gibbons held his nerve and managed to see his team home by five.

Results: Division 1 – Crown 462 (John Lovibond 68), Foxes & Ferrets 487 (Les Macriner 72); Farmer Boys bye; Wanderers Baye; Somerset Vaults 467 (Jim Vearncombe 64), Crusaders 421 (Nick Haggett 58); Knowle Otters 419 (Sean Tippets, Rob Matthews 60), Crown Jewels 400 (Colin Pople 68); Polden Bears 480 (Chris Pimm 69), Stop-Outs 505 (Tom Bennett 71); Pirates 508 (Roger Palfrey 79), Old Railway 449 (Paul Ham 76); Woolavington Boys 484 (Julian Hember, Mike Oxman 68), Barstewards 475 (Matt Barnett 71).

Division 2 – Cross Your Hart 526 (Pet Ormerod 81), Haymakers 487 (Charlie Kidner 74); Wasters 438 (Murray Parsons 61), Herdsmen 414 (Gary Wall 59); Rofugees 429 (Dave Cudlipp 75), Huntspill Boys 434 (Aidan Stokes 65); Polden Turkeys 447 (Mike Cox 68), Landlord Rejects 444 (Daryl Underhill 68); Oddsquad 419 (Bruce Warboys 57), Nomads 455 (Russell Burt 63); Three Cee’s 434 (Nick Hansford 68), Swannies 468 (Dave Tucker 71); Odds & Sods 454 (James Briggers 86), Wheatsheaf Boys 501 (Jake Budden 76); Ruggerites bye