The heroes of Kensham Park were edged out in a thrilling ECB Club T20 Devon County final at Sidmouth, beaten by Torquay by a margin of four wickets.
Batting first new skipper Gary Chappell and Chris Metters got stuck into the Torquay bowling, adding 46 before the skipper was out for a five-boundary 24-ball knock of 27. The wicket fell to the final ball of the sixth over.
Dan Hardy was next in – and out – dismissed for six to the first ball of the 9th over. Andy Buzza (5), Tim Piper (2) and Ross Acton (4) all fell leaving Chris Metters – now past 50, holding the fort at the other end! Eliot Acton joined Metters who was eventually out to the penultimate ball of the 17th over for a superb 41-ball eight boundary 55.
Thom Bunker – a centurion in the 2nd XI the day before – was next in – and out, caught for two and Acton crashed a brace of sixes in a 13-ball cameo of 21 before he was 8th man out at 134.
Nine runs were added over the final nine balls with Josh Cann falling for five before Mark Ashplant fell to the final delivery of the 20th over. Ashplant was bowled for two and Chris Acton was the not out batsman, also on two as Bradninch were bowled out for 143 leaving Torquay looking for a shade over seven-runs-per-over to deny the Eagles a day in South Wales in a fortnight’s time.
Sadly, that’s what they got with their star man – Joe Thompson – who lived in Bradninch when a youngster – scored the winning runs in the final over.
To be fair his was some knock – he finished with 81 from 54 balls with four 4s and six 6s. At 71-6 after 12.1 overs it looked all the way as if the Eagles would soar to success. It’s tough to take – especially for Man of the Match in the semi-final Ross Acton who AGAIN bowled superbly, shipping just 14 runs off his four overs whilst skipper Gary Chappell went one better (13 off his four).
The middle overs were the problem – the two Actons sent down six between them and they went for 64 whilst the Andy Buzza brace went for 22 – but to be fair to the latter he was bowling when Thompson had his eye firmly in!
Congratulations to Torquay who will now represent Devon in South Wales on August 7. On that date BCC will now take on Exeter at Kensham Park for a place in the EuroShopper Devon Senior Cup final.
Earlier in the day the team had been magnificent in the way they put Plymouth to the sword.
Here’s how that was reported:
Acton action and willow wonder as Acton and Chappell combine to ease team into T20 Finals Day final
Ross Acton was simply three-rific as he sent down his four overs and returned the splendid figures of 3-21, two bowled, one leg before. He also affected three run outs and held three catches – two off the bowling of his cousin Eliot Acton – as Plymouth were bowled out for 100 in 17.1 overs. Eliot Acton sent down 3.1 overs and claimed two wickets for 23 runs. The other wicket taker was Dan Hardy (1-19 in three) whilst the non wicket taking bowlers used were skipper Gary Chappell (0-14 in four) and Chris Acton (0-23 in three).
The run chase was hit by the second over dismissal – to a catch – of Chris Metters for a single. However, Dan Hardy was in next and he quickly stamped his authority on proceedings with a couple of fours and a six. T20 team skipper Gary Chappell led by example at the other end, rifling the ball to the boundary at every opportunity. The run chase was halfway completed in the seventh over, fittingly brought up with another four (his fifth) from the bat of Gary Chappell. Hardy fell for a four boundary 16-ball (three 4s and a six) 22, but that was as good as it got for Plymouth with Chappell joined by league skipper Tim Piper and the pair saw the side to an eight wicket win inside 16 overs. Piper was not out 12 from 19 balls and Chappell, the star once again with the bat, unbeaten on 62 with nine 4s and one six.
Gary Chappell now has 1,050 runs in 1st XI matches this season. In the league he has 789 and in T20 he now has 261 and averages 65 in the short game format.