A stunning century – almost double century – from Australian all-rounder Matt Foster could not prevent Ninch from suffering a second successive Tolchards Devon league Premier Division defeat.
Foster – or ‘Fozzie’ as he is more affectionately known, arrived at the wicket at the Fortfield home of the Devon League champions Sidmouth, with his side two down just 3.3 overs into the 50 over innings.
‘Fozzie’ came to the wicket at the Fortfield having seen skipper Gary Chappell (4) and Rory Thomas (0) both sent back to the pavilion and, as the Aussie trooped out to the middle, the score board was showing 13-2 after 3.3 overs.
However, when Foster had finished his spell with the willow, that same scoreboard read 309-7 after 47.3 overs. Along the way, he put on 118 for the fourth wicket with Charlie Walker (56), 67 for the third, with Dan Hardy (19) and 55 for the sixth, with Ross Acton (19).
Foster dominated the third wicket with Hardy, scoring 56 of the 67 runs that the pair put on in 10 overs.
It was the stand with Charlie Walker – how good it is to see ‘Walks’ back in the runs – saw 118 added in 22 overs with Walker chipping in with 50 per cent of the runs (56 from 78 balls faced), striking some superb fours through the covers.
When Walker departed to the fifth ball of the 36th over, Foster was still there on 105 and he accelerated still further, adding another 72 over the next 11.5 overs!
When the Aussie was finally out he had faced 128 balls, slamming 19 fours and thumping eight sixes in a 174-minute stay at the wicket that saw him score a magnificent 177.
A measure of how much the Aussie had dominated proceedings as that, when he was the seventh – and final – man down for his 177, the total was 309-9 meaning the other batters who had come been and gone – Walker apart with his 56 – contributing 51 between the five of them: skipper Gary Chappell (4), Rory Thomas (0), Dan Hardy (19), Tim Piper (9) and Ross Acton (19).
The late runs came in a spirited partnership of 19 from the final 15 deliveries from Will Squire (14no) and Ritchie Wilkinson (10no).
Bradninch were able to close on an imposing total of 328-7 leaving Sidmouth with the task of scoring at a rate of just over 6.5 runs per over to complete the win.
That target looked all a long way off as Ross Acton sent the stumps of opener Matt Cooke crashing with the very first delivery of the home innings!
However, it was the turn of the Bess brothers, Josh, Luke and Zach, to take on the Ninch bowling attack – and didn’t they do just that!
Josh Bess was first joined by Luke Bess and they took the score to 70 before Luke was sent back for 43, trapped leg before by Foster.
One Bess was replaced by another with Zach coming out to join Josh and they set about firing their side into a winning position. Something they achieved in some style as they said:
“…anything the Aussie can do, we can do just as well”.
They put on 215 for the third wicket in two balls shy of 30 overs. The partnership was effectively run-for-run as Josh scored 97 of them and Zach 101 before Josh departed, run out for 120 having faced just 106 balls, firing a dozen fours and powering four sixes. It was young Matt Parker behind the throw that ended the Josh Bess innings.
The Bess departure, left Sidmouth closing in on a terrific triumph for, as Anthony Griffiths came out to join Zach Bess; Sidmouth needed another 45 runs from 8.3 overs (51 deliveries).
Griffiths faced only five deliveries and was out without scoring – bowled by Dan Hardy, but he did not need to as Zach Bess continued his assault on the Bradninch bowling completing the win with his eighth four – he also hammered no fewer than eight sixes – to end unbeaten on 137 from 110 balls. It was a stunning innings – one of three outstanding individual efforts with the bat on an extraordinary afternoon at the Fortfield as Sidmouth closed out a six wicket win with some five full overs still to be bowled.
In similar fashion to the home bowling effort the Ninch bowling figures do not make good reading.
The most economical figures were the 0-55 from a full shift of 10 overs by skipper Gary Chappell – but, and it is rare we report this – the talisman skipper did not bag a single wicket – an indication perhaps of just how good the track was at Sidmouth on the day.
Chris Acton (0-29 from five overs) was the only other Ninch bower not to go at more than a run-a-ball rate. Ross Acton (1-49 from eight), Matt Foster (1-73 from 10) and Dan Hardy (1-23 from 2.5), were the wicket takers and the other bowlers called into action were: Will Squire (0-39 from four) and Matt Parker (0-53 from five).