Bradninch 1st XI will now meet Sidmouth in the knockout stages of the Tolchards Devon Cricket League four-team competition after an emphatic five-wicket win at home to Bovey Tracey.
The victory means ‘Ninch’ top the Tier One Premier Central table having won all five of the matches that they played.
This was effectively a ‘winner-takes-all’ tie as the victorious side was destined to top the group and so meet the men from Fortfield in the next round.
After winning the toss and inviting the visitors to bat first — the game had a delayed start owing to some dampness following the heavy rain that fell on Thursday and Friday.
Skipper Eliot Acton and Mitchell Pugh shared the new ball duties and both had early success as Bovey were reduced to 20-3 with Acton trapping opener Abraham Kopparambil leg before while Pugh knocked dover the stumps of both Taylor Ingham-Hill and former Bradninch player Matt Golding.
Then, when Acton held a catch to dismiss Peter Bradley, giving young Joshua Farley the first of what would eventually be a four-wicket haul, the visitors were a troubled 44-4.
That was soon 54-5 as Thom Bunker pouched a catch to give Acton a second wicket. Catches by Ankit Badwal and Mitch Pugh gave a second wicket to Farley and a first for Gary Chappell which left Bovey on 88-7 and it was soon 89-8 as Pugh again showed ‘safe hands’ to give Farley a third wicket.
The Bovey tail wagged to see them to 115 with Dan Hardy holding a catch to give Pugh a third wicket while young Farley rounded things off with a catch off his own bowling.
Bradninch used six different bowlers and there were some terrific returns. Mitchell Pugh finished with 3-17 from eight; Eliot Acton had figures of 2-16 from eight and Gary Chappell’s return was 1-11 from eight.
Josh Farley sent down 7.3 overs for his 4-4 and the others to bowl were Charlie Sheen (0-16 from three) and Ankit Badwal (0-27 from four).
Gary Chappell and Thom Bunker opened the reply and ‘Chaps’ scored six off the opening over. However, ‘Bunks’ was trapped leg before to the very first delivery of over number two to leave ‘Ninch’ 7-1.
Dan Hardy joined Chappell, but the latter fell for 11 midway through the fourth over to leave the run chase on 14-2.
Any concerns another big turnout of support might have had were quickly put to rest though as Mitchell Pugh joined Hardy and the pair steadied the ship before taking the attack to the visiting bowlers.
Indeed, the duo took the reply to within 26 runs of victory when Hardy fell for a 57-ball 26.
Five runs were added before Pugh became the fourth wicket down, but not before he had scored a 71-ball six-boundary 42.
Just one more wicket was lost — that of Josh Farley, out for one, leaving Charlie Walker (20 from 32 balls) to see Ninch to a handsome win.
Will Squire (0) was the other not out batsman as the winning line was reached inside 32 overs.
Now attention turns to the knockout stages and that meeting next weekend with Sidmouth.
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