There was a run fest on a superb surface as the first game of the 2021 season took place at Kensham Park.
The 30-overs per side contest between as Bradninch Second XI and near neighbours Butterleigh saw no fewer than 478 runs scored inside 59 overs as the home side chalked up a five wicket win with Kian Burns lighting the place up with a 20-ball half century, hitting six fours and four sixes.
Butterleigh won the toss and opted to bat first and they got off to a splendid start as Harvey Sanders and Nick Ladd added 56 for the first wicket which was that of Sanders who was caught by James Mills off the bowling of skipper Chris Acton for 17.
Ladd was joined by Alex Brooks and the pair made hay in the glorious sunshine, adding 75 in just 10 overs before Ladd fell for a 51-ball 76 in which he hit seven fours and two sixes.
Ladd was eventually undone by another splendid Mills catch, again off the bowling of his skipper.
Henry Weeks was in at four and he and Brooks continued the impressive runs-per-over count, adding 65 in just six overs before Brooks was bowled by Tallon Burns. Brooks was out for what became the games top individual score – 73, hit off 54 balls with 10 fours and one six.
However, once the top four had gone, wickets fell at regular intervals as the visitors swung the bat looking to take their score towards 250 – that sort of total did seem possible at one stage, but a fine spell from Will Birley (2-12 from three) and two more wickets for Tallon Burns, who finished with figures of 3-51 from six overs and the Butterleigh innings closed on 237-8.
As for the other bowlers used by Bradninch, skipper Acton returned figures of 2-35 from six, James Mills – who sent down five wides in his first over of the season – and then sent the next four down for just seven runs and finished with figures of 0-28 from six; Craig Penberthy finished with 0-61 from six while Liam Reed’s return was 0-37 from three.
The Bradninch reply was led by Will Birley and Tallon Burns and it was the latter who produced the fireworks!
At the end of the fourth over, Bradninch were 56 without loss and, after seven it was 76-0. However, Burns then holed out to a splendid catch in the deep to troop back to the pavilion area having slammed those six fours and four sixes in his 20-ball 54.
Birley was joined by Tallon Burns and once more Birley played the role of ‘stayer’ while Burns followed his brother hitting a 14-ball 21 before holing out with the score 109-2 after nine overs and five balls.
Birley was then joined by Craig Penberthy and the pair saw the run chase to the 15th over and a drinks break with the Bradninch reply on 149-2.
Sadly, in the very first over after drinks, Birley was run out ‘backing up’ when the bowler got a finger on a well driven Shakespeare shot. Then opener had done his job, scoring a run-a-ball 41.
Ryan Shrewsbury joined Shakespeare, but just 11 runs were added before the latter holed out for a knock of 24, scored off 17 balls with one six. The Shakespeare wicket left Bradninch on 162-4 and it brought skipper Chris Acton to the wicket. He and Shrewsberry took the chase past 200, adding 41 at a run-a-ball before Shrewsberry was bowled having scored a vital 26 from 31 balls, hitting three fours.
James Mills was in at seven and he joined his skipper with 35 runs required from 30 deliveries.
However, that run rate dropped dramatically thanks to a terrific effort from skipper Acton who scored 15 from the 26th over and that left his side needing 19 more runs from the final four overs.
‘Millsy’, who has become something of a talisman when late runs are needed, put bat to ball with equal effect and a five wicket win was sealed with 11 balls of the match remaining.
Acton finished unbeaten on 33 from just 27 balls, hiting four fours while Mills was unbeaten on 15 from nine.
For the visitors, Saunders claimed two wickets and there was a wicket each for both Lewis and Thompson.