Bradninch made an excellent start to the 2012 Francis Clark Devon League Premier Division campaign with an opening day win over Exmouth at Kensham Park thanks to a splendid unbeaten innings from Ross Acton.
The day had started well with Dan Milligan marking his league debut with an early wicket and when Paul Nott and Ross Acton also picked up scalps, the visitors were in early trouble at 38-3.
Exmouth skipper Richard Baggs and vice-captain Andy Buzza then put on 50 and threatened for a while to take the game the way of the seasiders only for another league debutant, Matt Golding, to remove them both.
First he hit wood to dismiss the Exmouth captain for 21 and then the safe hands of Tim Piper were deployed to see an end to Buzza for his side’s top individual knock of 28.
The vital fourth wicket, that of Baggs, fell on 88 and the latter half of the visiting team could only muster a further 41 – to see the total close on 129 after 45.2 overs. Indeed, the closing total would have been mighty fewer but for some poor home bowling that yielded no fewer than 20 extras!
Young Golding finished with 3-27 whilst skipper Gary Chappell once again bowled delightfully to return the best of the bowling stats with 3-18 from 9.3 overs.
The veteran Paul Nott claimed 1-26 and new boy Milligan returned the respectable figures of 2-26 from his eight overs on a wicket that was most certainly not conducive to a quickie!
Ross Acton sent down his ten overs and finished with 1-31. The home reply got a similar start to that of the visiting team with Tim Piper back in then hutch for a duck trapped leg before by the England deaf team bowler George Greenway.
Street and Golding followed shortly after for 9 and 8 respectively and then disaster struck with skipper Chappell given out when it seemed as if the ball was nowhere near his bat or gloves!
Player Coach Paul Tweddle was then swiftly in and out without troubling the scorers and that was also the case for Chris Acton who would also have limped back to the pavilion with a duck quacking away had the game been broadcast on TV!
Young ‘street-hawk’ Jarrett then was adjudged run-out in very tight circumstances, but crucially still, sitting as comfortable as a roosting hen on the nest. Ross Acton looked very composed at the other end as the wickets tumbled opposite him!
At 78 for 7 the game had swung the way of the visitors. They would surely have gone on to win had a catch been taken on the boundary to see off Acton. It wasn’t and the opener took full advantage carrying his bat to a glorious opening day win with a majestic unbeaten 60.
Milligan marked a debut to be pleased with as the supporting act in an unbeaten 11 and Bradninch won by three wickets with just over 12 overs still to be delivered!