Will Greig slams 19-ball half-century and Will Birley hits his highest Devon League score to date as 2nd XI win at Countess Wear
Bradninch 2nds banked a ‘much-needed’ 19 points thanks to a 72-run win at Countess Wear in their latest Tolchards Devon League E Division East outing.
Upon arrival at the home ground, the team had to get by ‘gate security’ and, once inside the thriving ‘Winslade Park’ they found a wicket that had been covered, but was on the damp side and it was clear the toss of the coin was going to be one of those ‘all important ones’.
Will Birley, skippering the side in the absence of 1st XI playing Connor Carthew, lost the toss and he and Chris Acton went out to do their best, on a damp surface to see off the new ball.
Given that entire team had been bowled out for just 59 in 18 overs and two balls, to get to drinks with the score board then showing 87-0 was a huge boost for the team. Birley and Acton saw the side into three figures and were not parted until they had scored 130 when Acton was the first to fall, trapped leg before and, for the third match running, sportingly did not wait for an umpiring decision as he walked! However, the left hander had scored a fine 66 from 90 deliveries, hitting ten fours.
Birley was joined by Will Greig and the pair – thanks to the power of Greig – took the score past 200 before the second wicket fell; 233-2 – the pair putting on 103 for the second wicket in just under 11 overs. The second wicket was that of Greig, but not before he had blitzed a 19-ball half-century, finally out to a catch for a 33-ball contribution of 61.
Birley stayed with it – indeed he bagged the distinction of scoring his side’s 50th, 100th, 150th, 200th and the 250th run his side bagged on the day! He was finally out for 89 having been at the wicket from the first over until the 43rd when he was third man out having faced 118 deliveries, scoring his highest Devon League score to date of 89, hitting seven fours and one six.
When Birley was finally out his side had accumulated 260 runs with one over and one ball remaining of the 45 overs.
Ryan Shrewsberry was the fourth and final Bradninch wicket to fall – caught for 10 as the side closed on 268-4. At the close, Sam Perry (3) and Rob Sinden (1) were the not-out batsmen.
When Countess Wear began their reply, the Bradninch new ball duties went to James Mills and Ryan Shrewsberry, but it was first change Rob Acton who made the breakthrough; a straight delivery getting through the openers defence top leave Countess Wear on 62-1 after 15 overs. It was not until the 26th over that wicket two was bagged – Will Greig the successful bowler and James Mills taking the first of what would eventually be three catches in the outfield! Ninety-six for two became 128-3 in the 31st over with Bradninch debut playing wicket keeper Sam Perry whipping the bails off to complete a stumping and give Chris Acton his first wicket.
The fourth wicket pair for Countess Wear launched an impressive fight back and, despite a very good four-over spell from a fit-again Jordan Biss – he did bowl well, but without any luck on his way to the tidy figures of 0-12; and, at the start of the 42nd over, the home side were in a degree of comfort on 187-3 and looking set to deny ‘Ninch any more than the one bowling point while bagging themselves all five batting points.
However, Birley, who brought himself on as fifth change at the start of the 40th over, picked up a wicket in his second over, the 42nd, thanks to a Will Greig catch and, at the end of 42 overs, the reply was 187-4.
Chris Dean was then summoned to turn his arm over – he sent down the 43rd over – conceding just four runs. Birley bowled the 44th and penultimate over and claimed a second wicket – this time thanks to another Mills catch.
At the start of the final over, Countess Wear were 194-5 – and ‘Deano’ claimed three wickets in the final over to see the home side restricted to a closing total of 196-8!
So, in the space of four overs, Birley and Dean, between them, claimed five wickets to see the side pick up all but one of the five bowling points!
Those final three wickets all produced catches; held by Will Greig, Rob Acton and ‘safe hands’ James Mills. The wily old Dean finished with figures of 3-6 from two overs while the Birley return was 2-19 from three as Bradninch secured a morale-boosting victory, banking 19 points.