Bradninch 2nd XI made a winning start to the new Tolchards Devon League E Division East campaign as they brushed aside Bideford, Littleham & Westward Ho! 2nds, defeating the visitors by a margin of 150 runs.
New 2nd XI skipper Connor Carthew won the toss and sent brothers-in-law Chris Acton and Paul Nott out to launch the new campaign.
The pair made comfortable progress through to 42 when Acton fell to an lbw shout, but the talismatic former skipper was still shaking his head at the decision as he returned to the pavilion, out for nine. Nott was joined by Craig Penberthy, one of a number of players making their Ninch debut and the pair took the score to 66 before Penberthy fell for 12,
Skipper Carthew was next man in and he and Nott set about the visiting bowling at a good rate. Indeed, they added exactly 100 to the score when Nott fell for a splendid 75.
Carthew was joined by another new man – though no stranger to either BCC or Kensham Park – Tom Hardy – who has moved across from Cullompton. Hardy was third man out, dismissed for 10 and that brought Kalann Nessling to the crease to join his skipper, and now the fireworks followed!
The pair put bat to ball with great effect as the score raced towards 300! Indeed, with just a single run required for the team to rack up an opening day 300 total, Nessling fell for 40.
He and Carthew had added 113 for the fifth wicket. That was as good as it got for the visitors, though skipper Carthew was, for the second time in as many seasons, left so close to a deserved century as he was not-out 90 when the innings came to a close and the other unbeaten batsman was Ryan Shrewsberry with one, as Bradninch’s innings closed with their score on 304-5 after 45 overs.
After tea Carthew gave the new ball duties to Nessling and Shrewsberry, but the visitors got off to a confident start and reached 58 when Nessling parted the openers with a delivery that knocked over the stumps. That sparked a collapse as 58-1 quickly became 80-5 with Penberthy marking his debut with a three-wicket burst – one with a leg before decision and then with two catches, one held by skipper Carthew and one by glovesman Bryn Jones. The other wicket of those first five fell to another debutant with James Mills getting his first wicket for the club, knocking over the stumps of the opener who had resisted for some time.
Wicket-keeper, ‘safe hands’ Bryn Jones held catches two and three to give Mills a second wicket and Rob Acton a first to leave the reply teetering on 116-7. Such were the bowling options enjoyed by Carthew that he had the luxury of calling on the vastly experienced Chris Acton as the third change and he picked up a brace of wickets – typically for such an accurate bowler, both were clean-bowled and, after the last pair had resisted for a while, adding 24 , it was Rob Acton who got a leg-before decision to leave the reply all-out on 154, one ball shy of completing 41 overs.
So, a great opening day success for Carthew and his men and next up they face their first meeting with one of the division’s four 1st XIs with the side travelling to meet an Uplyme and Lyme Regis side that won their first game of the new campaign.
In terms of the Bradninch bowling returns; the top figures were the nine overs and 3-13 from Craig Penberthy. James Mills marked his debut with a 2-38 return from eight overs and the Acton brothers, Chris and Rob had figures of 2-22 from nine and 2-26 from 5.5 overs, respectively. The other wicket-taker was Kalann Nessling, with his figures being 1-28 from seven and the other bowlers used was Ryan Shrewsberry (0-24 from two overs).