CHIPPENHAM'S promotion hopes were dealt a severe blow at the weekend as they crashed to a narrow defeat to rivals Ilminster in the Stroud and Swindon West of England Premier Division Two.

But despite the defeat captain Jason Searle is refusing to rule his side out of the promotion race just yet.

Having won the toss, Searle elected to bat first on what looked a reasonable batting wicket but a poor display of batting left the home side's bowling attack too much to do as Ilminster reached their target with one wicket in hand.

Searle said: "It has not helped our chances of going up but we are still in with a chance.

"We have a massive game against Frocester this weekend and with Knowle playing Ilminster we can still gain ground on those above us.

The in form Mark Hunt followed up last week's unbeaten century with another impressive knock of 63, but he was unable to find a willing partner as Chippenham were bowled out for just 135.

The only other players to reach double figures were Trevor Lloyd, 21, and Ollie Goodway, 15, as the home side were bowled out 21 balls short of their allotted overs.

Chippenham's bowling attack tried valiantly to rescue the situation but despite a spirited effort they were unable to pull the game round.

Not surprisingly, it was again Chippenham's spinners who got most of the wickets with Richard Bates finishing with figures of three wickets for 16 and Jason Searle getting four for 29.

The other two wickets were picked up by Paul Bates who went for 48 runs.

Searle said: "Our big mistake was not using all our overs.

"We should not have allowed ourselves to be bowled out so quickly as we gave Ilminster a fairly easy target of 135.

"We could not have done more in the field and it was only some great bowling and fielding that eventually made the game so close."