Gary Chappell wasted little time in ‘getting into gear’ in the 2021 season as he elegantly stroked a half century in the opening pre-season game of the campaign at Creedy Park, Sandford, a match that Bradninch won by 33 runs.
‘Chaps’ certainly enjoys the strip at Creedy Park – he hit a double hundred there – scoring an unbeaten 205 – on June 14, 2016 and, two months shy of five years later he stroked an imperious unbeaten 102, before retiring with his wicket intact to give another player a bat.
On this occasion he opened the innings with Josh Farley and Chappell got off the mark to the second delivery. Two balls later young Farley had his stumps knocked over by Devon bowler Josh King.
This brought Mitchell Pugh out to join Chappell and the pair clearly took to the conditions – sunny but mighty chilly – and put bat to ball with great effect adding 82 for the second wicket which was that of Pugh, out to the 41st ball – the second delivery of the 14th over – he faced for 32 having hit seven fours.
The Pugh wicket left Bradninch on 83-2 and this brought Dan Hardy to the wicket to join Chappell who brought his half century up with a six off Ryan Glass – launching the second ball off the 16th over – this hit also took his side’s score into three figures – and he hit the very next ball for six too!
Chappell and Hardy increased the scoring rate to seven-and-over and 14 runs – 11 of them from the bat of Gary Chappell – came from the 20th over at the end of which Bradninch were 134-2.
Dan Hardy’s knock ended when he was caught by Lawrence Walker off Josh King, out for 11 from 22 balls faced leaving the Bradninch score 144-3, two deliveries into the 22nd over.
This brought Thom Bunker out to join Chappell and it was the latter who score the 150th run of the day.
Home skipper Richard Foan brought himself into the attack – his fourth change of bowlers on the day – bowling the 26th over which went for three singles, two to Bunks and one to Chaps.
It was a four struck off the second ball of the 30th over that saw Chaps to his century – scored off 75 deliveries in a 116 minute stay at the wicket that had seen him stroke seven fours and slam as many sixes.
Having chalked up his latest three figure score, ‘Chaps’ retired to give someone else some early season batting time.
He trooped off having scored 102 of the 184 runs that Bradninch had scored for the loss of three wickets.
Leon Horn took over and he and Bunker took the score to 192 when Bunker fell for a 44-ball, three boundary 21. Eleven runs were added before the fifth wicket was lost – and that was Craig Penberthy, bowled by Jamie Palmer for a 10-ball two.
Will Squire joined Horn and the pair took the score to 229 when Squire became the sixth wicket to fall,, trapped leg before by King for an 11-ball seven.
That left Bradninch on 229-6 with two of their 40 overs remaining.
A splendid knock from Leon Horn came to end when he fell to the third delivery of the 39th over, bowled by Palmer for a 24-ball 32 – a knock that included three fours and a six.
This left Darren Paul and Ankit Badwar at either wicket at the start of the 40th and final over with Bradninch on 236-7.
Thirteen runs came from the final over as the innings closed on 249-7 leaving Sandford requiring 250 from 40 overs to win the match.
At the close, Darren Paul was unbeaten on two runs from four balls while the late action came from Ankit Badwal who hit a six and a four in his eight minute stay at the crease that saw him score 14 from half a dozen deliveries.
There were no fewer than 22 wides in the final Bradninch total.
When Sandford batted, it was Mitchell Pugh and skipper Eliot Acton who shared the new ball duties.
At the end of the fifth over the openers had 40 runs on the board, but the breakthrough was made by the skipper who bowled Ryan Glass with the first delivery of the sixth over with the home batsman out for a five boundary 15-ball 23.
Home skipper Richard Foan was then joined by Harrison Jones and they continued to dish up a very good run rate.
Skipper Acton threw the ball to Gary Chappell and he went for four in his first over and 12 in his second, but he struck with the first delivery of his third over, having Foan caught by Ankit Badwal for a run-a-ball 37 to leave the run chase on 93-2 in the 15th over.
Josh Farley became the fifth Bradninch bowler as skipper Acton rang the changes and the home run rate began to fall behind the required six-runs-per-over.
Acton’s switching did the trick as the skipper led from the front. He took over from Badwal, who had sent down five overs for just 20 runs to share the best economy figures with ‘Chaps’ at that stage of the contest – and, in his very first over, the 22nd of the match, he again hit the stumps to send back Harrison Jones for a 55-ball 34 to leave Sandford 119-3.
Another shuffle of the bowling pack saw the skipper give way to Chappell who promptly sent back another youngster, Lawrence Walker for a 37-ball 24 to leave the home side four wickets down and still 107 runs from the finishing line with 86 balls to be bowled.
Josh King joined Adam Small to continue the home run chase and they reached 153-4 from 28 overs.
It was Josh Farley who bagged wicket number five, knocking over the stumps of Josh King, sent back to the Creedy Park Pavilion having scored an 18-ball dozen.
The loss of a fifth wicket brought Jamie Palmer out to join Ryan Small with the home side 170-5 needing 80 from 54 balls.
Farley struck again to claim the sixth Sandford wicket, having Jamie Palmer caught by Dan Hardy for seven to leave the reply on 182-6 after 33 overs.
Tight bowling from Badwar continued and, after 35 overs had been sent down, Sandford needed 62 from the last 30 balls.
The target became 55 from the last four overs as the home chances began to fade.
Leon Horn became the sixth bowler for Bradninch and he struck in his first over – the 37th, as Adrian Small was out ‘hit wicket’ to the second delivery Horn sent down and that meant Sandford were 196-7.
Will Squire, the seventh bowler into action, sent down the 38th over which only went for the one run leaving on 202-7, but now 48 runs shy of victory with only 12 deliveries left.
As if to underline his bowling options, skipper Acton threw the ball to Dan Hardy who became the eighth different bowler used and he send down over 39 and that went for just three runs.
The final over was bowled over by Will Squire and that went for 11 leaving Sandford closing on 216-7 which meant a Bradninch winning margin of 33 runs.
Bradninch 249-7 (G Chappell 102 no, M Pugh 32, L Horn 32, T Bunker 21; J King 3-59); Sandford 216-7 (A Small 38, R Foan 37; G Chappell 2-33; E Acton 2-45, J Farley 2-52). Bradninch win by 33 runs.