If the final game of a cricket season — any cricket season — is meant to focus the mind and set up a winter of anticipation about ‘next season’ then the final game of what has been such a short 2020 season for Bradninch Cricket Club certainly ‘did its bit’ in terms of ‘leaving one season on a high’!
The second Sunday of September saw a Bradninch XI take on touring outfit Allerton CC who hail from Somerset and had asked for the game on their way back from a four day tour of South Devon where they had as their tour base, Dartmouth.
So why was this final action of the 2020 campaign so memorable? In a word, or rather two words — Ankit Action!
Another excellent crowd enjoying the Kensham Park sunshine and the fine beers and ciders of the Kensham Club were treated to a 45-ball century from Ankit Badwar, a 22-ball half-century from Thom Bunker and an excellent 59-ball 76 from Darren Paul.
Bradninch amassed one of the biggest scores seen at Kensham Park — 406-6 from their 40 overs and then bowled the Somerset men out for 196 in 34 overs and one ball with Liam Reed claiming four wickets and Paul Nott rolled back the years with a three-wicket return.
On a day of big hitting, both 200 and 300 were brought up by six hits! Ankit Badwar reached his first BCC ton running a four with Chris Acton. Indeed the Badwar & Acton partnership saw them put on 106 in 9.4 overs.
Skipper Eliot Acton won the toss and he and Will Birley launched the home effort. Then skipper, leading by example, had already slammed five fours in a dozen deliveries when he was caught off what certainly looked like a ‘no ball’, but he sportingly made his way back to the pavilion with 24 to his name.
Birley was joined by Darren Paul and the pair added 75 in just over 10 overs before Birley was bowled for 35.
Will Greig was next man in and he certainly upped the tempo, slamming 45 from just 23 deliveries before he became the third wicket to fall with the score on 193.
The score edged past 200 — before Darren Paul was caught having faced 59 balls, hitting nine fours and three sixes in his knock of 76.
The Greig & Paul cameo saw them put on 79 for the third wicket — the first 50 of those runs coming off just 22 balls!
However, the main ‘fireworks’ were still to come and they did with Chris Acton at the opposite end to Ankit Badwar who wasted little time in settling in before launching into the bowling, he reached 50 in 28 balls and then needed just another 17 to complete his second 50 and claim his first BCC century. He hit a dozen fours and five sixes and brought his century up running four with Acton!
Both batsmen retired with their wickets intact — Acton for 23 and Badwar for exactly 100.
There was still time for Thom Bunker to slam an eight boundary 22-ball half-century as Bradninch chalked up a whopping 406-6 from 40 overs!
Allerton made a steady start, scoring 17 from the first five overs — three sent down by Paul Nott and two by Thom Bunker. Liam Reed became the first change and he struck twice in his first over, taking a catch off his own bowling for wicket one and then knocking the stumps over for wicket number two.
Reed also claimed wickets three and four, both to catches held by skipper Eliot Acton who was keeping wicket.
The fifth wicket was claimed with the visiting score on 105 — Jordan Biss holding a fine catch to give Will Greig a wicket and it was soon 123-6 with Reed holding an excellent catch to give Will Birley a wicket.
Paul Nott was recalled into action — he bowled overs one, three and five and came back to bowl the 29th. He went on to claim wickets seven, eight and nine — one by knocking over the stumps, one thanks to a catch held by Thom Bunker and one from a catch off his own bowling.
It was left to skipper Eliot Acton to have the final say as he took off the pads and handed wicket-keeping duties to Jordan Biss to send down two overs and one ball and it was off the first delivery of his third over that he held a catch off his own bowling to see Allerton all out for 192, leaving Bradninch winners by a huge margin of 214 runs.