Bradninch 1st XI made a superb start to the new Tolchards Devon League top-flight campaign as they raced to a comprehensive seven-wicket win at Plympton.
The home side won the toss and opted to bat and would have been happy with their start as they were able to get through the new ball work from Ross Acton and Gary Chappell.
However, having got to 33 without loss, they faced Bradninch skipper Eliot Acton, who introduced himself as second change – the first change was Tallan Burns and, fittingly, it was the new skipper who claimed the very first wicket of the new campaign thanks to a catch behind held by glovesman Tim Piper.
The second wicket was snared with the score on 55 with Ross Acton trapping his man leg before! From 65-2, the home side collapsed to 67-5 as Ross Acton first knocked the stumps over and then trapped former Ninch player Jack Horton, trapping him leg before to just the second delivery he faced, out without troubling Ninch scorer Bernadette [Kent]. The other wicket-taker for Bradninch, in that flurry of victims, was Tallan Burns who bagged his first wicket of the season thanks to a catch by brother Kian!
With half the home side ‘back in the hutch’, there was no let-up in terms of the Bradninch attack ‘smelling blood’ and, after Plymstock had laboured their way towards a three-figure score, Burns struck for a second time, this time knocking over the stumps to leave the home side 97-6. Gary Chappell then claimed his first wicket of the season with a straight delivery that wrapped the pads to win an lbw appeal and suddenly the home side were seven down and still three runs shy of 100!
The score board was soon showing 105-8 with a second wicket and it was the new skipper and the old skipper combining as Eliot Acton held the catch to give Chappell his second wicket of the game.
Skipper Acton kept the pressure on and teenage spinner Josh Farley mopped things up with a quick-fore brace as Plympton were bundled out for 125 in 42 overs.
Gary Chappell and Ross Acton launched the reply (is there a better opening partnership in the second tier of Devon County League cricket?) and they took the chase to 75 when Chappell fell to a catch, out for 39, scored off just 42 deliveries with six fours and two sixes.
Ross Acton was joined by Kian Burns and they took the chase to within 14 runs of victory when, with the score board on the dreaded ‘Nelson’ – and, as happens so often with a score board showing 111 – both fell!
Acton went first, out for a 57-ball innings that yielded 41 runs and Burns was out for 15.
Leon Horn then joined Tim Piper and they were both not-out for 10 and five respectively as Bradninch sealed a seven-wicket win, bringing up an opening day victory off the penultimate ball of the 27th over with their score
After the game, skipper Acton spoke with Devon Cricket’s Conrad Sutcliffe and said:
“It is of course always nice to get the first game over early and see the top order in a bit of form, but I expect tougher tests to come.
We started slowly with the ball but once we got the breakthrough, it was one-way traffic.
The par score was probably 180 so I was happy to bowl them out for 125.
Josh Farley bowled well on debut with two wickets and Tallan Burns also had an impressive spell in the middle overs.
Batting-wise, we got off to a quick start and only lazy shots meant we lost any wickets.”