Bradninch 2nd XI skipper Will Birley and Thom Bunker linked up to guide the team to a seven-wicket win in their Tuesday evening T20 derby game against Cullompton II at Kensham Park.
On a great night for the home side there were also big contributions from one of the club’s senior heads — Paul Nott — and one of the ‘new guard’ — Jovi Jenkins.
One of the largest gatherings on a Tuesday evening for some time were treated to a compelling encounter that ebbed and flowed throughout. Batting first, Cully were 44 without loss after five overs and then 49-1 after six with Bunker making the breakthrough thanks to a catch behind held by glovesman Jordan Biss.
Then captain Birley introduced himself as second changed and he hit the stumps with his very first delivery! His first over then saw another ‘chance’ missed with an absolute dolly of a catch put down (we shall refrain from naming the culprit so as to avoid embarrassment — suffice to say the clue is he got a half-century later on!
Birley went on to deliver four excellent overs and returned figures of 2-15 and, with Bunker also taking a brace of wickets — his return being 2-26 from his four overs – and Max Cooper (1-29 from four overs), Cullompton closed their innings on 138.
Tom Bendall top-scored for Cully with a 38-ball unbeaten 45 while opener Andrew Marshall hit a 24-ball 31 and Chris Beale chipped in with a run-a-ball 20.
The Bradninch innings was launched by Ryan Shrewsberry and Thom Bunker. ‘Shrew’ almost had his head removed by the opening delivery — the second ball he faced was also ‘shoulder high’ and, having drilled one ball to the boundary he succumbed to a straight delivery from the impressive Matt Ottery. It was soon 5-2 for the home side as Ian Oliver was also bowled and, after a couple of lusty blows, Nick Acton also saw his stumps knocked over — in his after he had scored 11 — and suddenly Bradninch were 18-3 after three overs.
Skipper Will Birley joined Bunker and the pair first batted their side back into the contest and then put their foot on the accelerator to steer the home outfit towards the winning line. The pair added 93 for the unbroken fourth wicket when Bunker reached his half-century from 34 balls with his sixth boundary. He trooped off, retiring with his wicket intact, with 28 runs needed to win and six overs still to be bowled. Paul Nott joined the skipper and it was Birley who next reached his half-century — in his case from 42 deliveries and he trooped off, also having retired not-out, with just eight runs needed. Jordan Biss joined Nott and it was the senior statesman who hit successive fours off the last two deliveries of the 18 over to seal a seven-wicket success.
It was fitting that Nott should deliver the final act of the game for he had started it — turning his arm over for the first time in well over three years. It was a wonderful thing to see such a club stalwart once again bowling — this after he had battled shoulder problems for years and had — in his own words — grown to accept he’d never bowl again — well he is back and it was lovely to see him later on rifle the ball to the boundary to seal the win.
As for the other ‘star’ on the night — Jovi Jenkins is a young man who has played for the Bradninch Colts in the past. He is a leg spinner, and based on what we saw in this game, here is going to a very useful addition to the club’s 2nd XI ranks.
Yes, July 21st was a great evening to be a Bradninch 2nd XI player and certainly a good night for all ‘Bradninch watchers’ — well played lads and thank you to such a terrific turn out of support.
Thank you also to Simon Glendinning and his ‘crew’ who have certainly put in place the most superb system to keep everyone as Covid safe as one can be. Yep, a great night all round at BCC!