BEN Pilot and Will Hickmott navigated Monmouth CC to an eight-wicket midweek win with a 105-run third-wicket partnership at home to Ruardean Hill in the Forest Hundred League.

Ruardean were restricted to 127-6 off their 100 balls, Aled Jones starring with the ball with 3-19, backed by single wickets for Pilot, Benjamin McCluskey and William Wilton.

Gareth Tyler struck 11 off 16 balls before losing his stumps (21-1) in reply, and Harry Desroy soon followed for a duck (24-2).

But that brought Pilot to the crease with Hickmott, who set about the Ruardean attack with relish, firing an unbeaten 62 off just 33 balls, including nine fours and two sixes.

Hickmott also carried his bat for 36 as the hosts reached 129-2 with seven balls to spare to stay top of the table.

Pilot also starred again on Saturday in the South Wales East League, firing a quickfire 51 off 53 balls for Monmouth 1st XI (sponsored by Burkert Fluid Control Systems and Gwalia Consulting) at home to Mountain Ash.

But the lower order struggled and the high-flying Division 7 hosts fell to an eight-wicket loss.

Skipper opener Gareth Jones also scored 36, forming a 78-run third-wicket partnership with fourth man Pilot to take Monmouth to 108-3.

But with the fall of the latter (127-4) after a stirring knock that included two sixes and three fours, just 30 more runs were added for the loss of the last six wickets, with Monmouth all out for 157 in the 34th over.

Ash opener Owen Roberts was quickly into his stride in reply, scoring an unbeaten 78, including 14 fours and a six, to guide the visitors to 158-2 in 24.5 overs, Jones and Pilot taking the two consolation wickets.

The 2nds (sponsored by Latorre Consultancy and the Kutir Restaurant) also missed out, beaten by 154 runs in Cardiff by SEW 12E high-flyers Friends Union 2nds.

The hosts amassed 260-5 off 40 overs, Benjamin McCluskey taking two wickets and Keiran Shaw, Andrew Dobbie and Steve Vickers one apiece.

But reduced to 32-5, Monmouth were staring down the barrel and did well to see out their overs, finishing on 106-9 largely thanks to 29 from seventh man Chris Powles.

It also proved a tough weekend for Chepstow CC, with three losses.

The 1sts were all out for 176 off 46 overs at home to Abergavenny 1sts in South Wales Premier 2, opener Ben Sidney-Jones firing 66, Harry Hughes 35 not out and Aaron Jones 28.

Lewis Jones then took three wickets, but Aber reached 179-4 with some 12 overs to spare.

It was a closer affair for the 2nds away to Pontymister & Crosskeys 1sts, the hosts reaching the target with an over left.

Tuhin Gavin scored 43, Bruno Chitnis 42 and Malith Madurasinghe 38 as Chepstow reached 193-7 off 40 overs.

But despite three wickets for Rizan Mansoor and two for Philip Richardson, the hosts made it to 195-6 to claim victory.

The 3rds also suffered narrow defeat away, going down by 14 runs after dismissing Crumlin 2nds for 122 before being bowled out for 108.

The weekend of woe for Wye Valley clubs also saw Penallt & Redbrook skittled out for 78 at home to Redmarley 2nds.

The hosts looked well set after dismissing the visitors for 127 in the 38th over, with Vipin Sathy, Kamaal Mitha, Ross Williams, Robert Symes and Alex Podsaidlo all taking wicket braces.

But the wheels then fell off, only opener Mitha with 27 making double figures as the Wyesiders were all out in the 32nd over.

Monmouth host Lydney on Wednesday night (June 26) in the Forest Hundred, before the 1sts face St Fagans 3rds away on Saturday (June 29), the 2nds host Ponthir 3rds and the 3rds travel to face Blaina 2nds.

Chepstow 1sts visit Ynystawe on Saturday, with the 2nds home to Whitchurch Heath 2nds and the 3rds home to Friends Union 2nds, while Penallt & Redbrook face Newent Lions away.