Bradninch 2nds were beaten by 94 runs when they travelled to Uplyme and Lyme Regis 1st XI for their first away E Division East game of the new campaign. Upon arrival at Uplyme the home wicket certainly seemed to be on the damp side and Bradninch skipper Connor Carthew had no hesitation in asking the home side to bat first.
Carthew gave the new ball to James Mills and he struck in his second over, knocking over the stumps to send one of the openers back to the pavilion. The early wicket saw Mark Batey head out to the crease to join brother Steve and what followed was a master-class in batting – the pair quickly settled and, as the home scorer remarked,
“In general when the brothers ‘get in’ they are hard to ‘get out’.”
How true that statement turned out to be! The pair added 132 for the second wicket and, when Steve Batey was finally dismissed, bowled by second change Rob Acton, he had scored 66 from 87 balls hitting eight fours and one six.
Scoring was not easy on a track that was, damp in places while the top end of a delightful home ground had ‘longer than usual’ grass, but, as the groundsman/scorer explained – the midweek rain at Uplyme had left it too soft to get the cutter across it.
The third-wicket partnership added a further 50 runs before a Will Birley catch off Tom Hardy left the hosts 190-3 with just three overs to go.
Two more wickets were to fall, both falling to Rob Acton, one a clean-bowled and the other via a Paul Nott catch. Indeed, it was the Nott catch that ended the fine knock of Mark Batey, but not before he had faced 137 balls, hitting 13 fours and two sixes as Uplyme and Lyme Regis closed their 45 over innings on 217-5.
The bowling honours went to Rob Acton, one of five bowlers – all who bowled a full shift of nine overs – used by skipper Connor Carthew. Acton’s figures were 3-41 while the other wicket takers were James Mills (1-45) and Tom Hardy (1-49).
Chris Acton, as ever, was the most economical of the bowlers sending his nine overs down for just 26 runs. Indeed, the Acton spell saw runs scored off just 15 deliveries – though he did bowl two of the team’s 11 wides (there were seven sent down by opener-seamer Mills and the other two were from Tom Hardy). Hardy bowled well – indeed his figures were slightly ‘wrecked’ by a final over that saw him go for 17 while Will Birley, last year’s 2nd XI leading wicket taker, turned his arm for the first time this season and he also bowled well – with two of his overs going for a combined sum of 29 runs and the other seven for 26 as he finished with figures of 0-55.
So, after a splendid tea prepared by the staff from the local Talbot Arms in Uplyme, brothers-in-law Chris [Acton] and Paul [Nott] launched the run-chase in search of the 218 runs required to make it two wins from two this early league season.
The pair were parted in the very first over, with Nott ‘playing on’ and trooping back with nought to his name. Acton fell soon after, ‘most sportingly’ opting to walk when he gloved the ball off his thigh pad into the hands of an impressive home wicketkeeper. When number three Will Birley edged his 12th ball faced to slip, Bradninch were three down with 22 runs on the score board – 14 of which were wides!
It got worse as Rib Sinden fell to the second legitimate ball he faced, caught and bowled without troubling the scorers and, at 25-4 an early finish was on the cards! Skipper Connor Carthew was joined by Tom Hardy and the pair rebuilt the reply, taking the score to 87 with a 62-run partnership for the fifth wicket which became that of the skipper, trapped leg before for 30 – given that captain Carthew score an unbeaten 90 in game one, he currently sports a league batting average of 120!
From 87-5 the score tumbled to 97-9 as Rob Acton, trapped leg-before-wicket to his first delivery, James Mills, caught and bowled for four, Jason Dowrick, caught for three and Ollie Mears – who had confessed to writing his sermon for the following day while waiting for his turn at the wicket – fell to his first ball faced for the teams fourth duck.
All involved contemplated a swift finish as ‘tail-end Charlie’ Pete Hardy strode out to the wicket to join son Tom.
With Ollie Hardy (Peter’s brother and Tom’s uncle) umpiring, it made for a trio of Hardy’s involved in the game at the same time!
Father and son combined to great effect, resisting the hosts for eight full overs before Pete Hardy fell to the first delivery of the 34th over, bowled for two leaving Tom Hardy not out 26 and the pair having added 27 runs for the final wicket – the second highest partnership, and one of just three partnerships that saw at least 10 runs added for a wicket on a ‘forgettable’ day for the second XI who lost this game by 94 runs.
On reflection; losing six players from the team that won so handsomely on match-day one clearly played a big part in this contest.
INTERESTING STAT: The home side sent down 45 wides which means, given that the week before Bideford 2nds sent down 47 wides, the total of wides that Bradninch 2nds have had to boost their score in the first two matches of the league season is – 92!