Rory Thomas continued his fruitful association relationship with Kensham Park as he slammed a 54-ball, 14-boundary 94 (he was caught on the boundary with a hit that – had it gone five feet more – would have brought up his ton!), as the BCC Sunday side won their South Devon league meeting with Topsham St James by a margin of 35 runs.
Batting first the home side opened with skipper Thom Bunker and Lautaro Musiani and the pair had out on 45 for the opening wicket when Bunker fell to a catch for a 20-ball 26 – his knock including three 4s and one six.
Musiani was next to go to a ball that kept ridiculously low! He was bowled for 23 – his innings including four 4s. The young Argentineans’ departure left the score 59-2 after nine overs. Ryan Shrewsberry was next man in – and out – picking up a first ball duck – but not before he and a free-hitting Thomas had added 29 for the third wicket to take the home score to 88.
Young Riley Burgess then joined Thomas and the pair added 20 for the 4th wicket before the youngster fell for four. Liam reed was next in – and out – falling for four and he was followed swiftly back by Owen Thomas who did not trouble the scorers.
When the Thomas brothers were parted with the younger’s dismissal, the score was a troubled 122-6.
Max Cooper, in at number eight, began to play some delightful shots as he and Thomas added a splendid 79 for the eighth wicket. Cooper had got to within seven runs of his maiden half century for the club when he was bowled for a 48-ball 48 with his innings seeing him rifle six 4s.The Cooper wicket fell with the score on 201 and, with the last batters to come, Thomas, on 94, went looking for what would have been an eighth six only to be caught just inside the boundary line by the score box.
His innings had lasted 102 minutes and seen him face 54 balls hitting seven fours and seven sixes.
Toby Dennis was the last wicket to fall, the youngster caught for four leaving Chris Dean the not out batsman.
The Topsham St James reply was given a flying start by a superb knock from their captain Callum Treleaven who raced to a half century in only 31 deliveries. He was fourth out, trapped leg before by Rory Thomas. Before that skipper Bunker had claimed a wicket thanks to a smart catch behind the stumps by Chris Dean. Thomas had also bagged another leg before decision and a smart catch by Thom Bunker left Thomas with three of the first four Saints wickets.
The younger Thomas – Owen – got the fifth wicket with a straight delivery before elder brother Rory was at it again, this time thinks to a Vinny Clark catch and suddenly Topsham St James were 115-6. They then mounted a come back thanks to a fine knock of 43 from number eight batsman Paul Robbins who slammed five fours and two sixes. However a superb single stump hit by Thom Bunker produced a run out before the returning Ryan Shrewsberry knocked over the Robbins stumps top bring up victory for the home side.
Rory Thomas took the bowling honours with figures of 4-37 fro eight overs. There were single wickets for Ryan Shrewsberry (1-31 in 5.4), Thom Bunker (1-14 in 4), Owen Thomas (1-32 in four) and the others to bowl were Lautaro Musiani (0-13 in two), Vinny Clark (01-12 in 1) and Toby Dennis ((0-32 in four).
This was a fabulous game of cricket played in a great spirit. The attitude of the Topsham St James skipper was exemplary throughout and especially when he had fallen foul of a leg before decision given by one of his own players standing as umpire! There were no histrionics, no bat slamming into the ground or helmet being flung to far corners – not an expletive in ear shot either – he was a credit to his team and the game of cricket.
There was also a most unsavoury incident when the game was held up for a short while owing to one of the worst example of animal cruelty you are ever likely to see! A dog walker climbed the gate to get into the cricket field after his young puppy. Eventually grabbed it and hit it hard before ‘hurling’ it over the fence and back into the field from where it had run to no doubt join the cricket match!
The dog continued to get a belt and that proved too much for a number of the watching folk who chased after the cruel dog owner to remonstrate – peace was eventually restored and the game continued.
There’s always action at Kensham Park!