Bradninch are up to second in the Tolchards Devon League A Division table after a six wicket home win over a North Devon side that had begun the day above them in the table.
The win means that ‘Ninch’ have now won all three of the games that they have started – and finished – so far this league season.
Matchday six had paired Ninch with a North Devon side that had also made an unbeaten start to the new term.
On what looked another ‘peach’ of a Kensham Park batting track thanks to the superb efforts of groundsman Pete Woodman, visiting skipper Tom Popham won the toss and opted to bat first.
Home skipper Eliot Acton entrusted the new ball duties upon Ross Acton and Mitchell Pugh and the pair sent down the first eight overs with the visiting batsmen putting 23 runs on the board. It was with the final ball of the ninth over that Acton made the breakthrough, having opener Ben Howe caught behind by glovesman Darren Paul for 11.
The first change came at the start of the 14th over with Craig Penberthy called into action and he sent down a maiden. Acton stayed on and bowled out his 10 overs and so the second change was made at the start of the 21st over, bowled by Gary Chappell.
It was the second ball of the 24th over that saw the second North Devon wicket claimed with Mitch Pugh holding a catch off the bowling of Craig Penberthy to end the knock of Jack Moore (19), leaving the visitors on 76-2.
Josh Farley became the third change and, with his very first delivery, the first ball of the 28th over, saw Farley bowl Dan Bowser who was out to the 100th delivery he faced having scored 48 to leave North Devon 90-3.
Some smart fielding by Rory Thomas saw the fourth wicket claimed, via a run out.
Skipper Eliot Acton took over from Chappell and it was the skipper who claimed the fifth wicket, having Issac Windley caught by Pugh for a run-a-ball 18 to leave North Devon 136-5 with 13 overs remaining.
Chappell struck midway through the 41st over; Darren Paul pouching a second catch, this time to send back Jack Popham for eight. That left the score on 153-6 after 41 overs and it was soon seven down with Penberthy recalled into the attack and clean bowling Tom Popham for a 63-ball 41.
Mitch Pugh struck twice in the 45th over having Fred King (9) caught by Josh Farley and then, having hit Pugh for four off the first ball he received, Jack Hockin was then caught by Ross Acton and, at the start of the 46tn over, North Devon were 175-9.
Skipper Acton recalled himself to send down the 49th over and fittingly the skipper claimed the final visiting wicket, having Matt Dart caught behind – a third catch pouched by wicket keeper Darren Paul, leaving North Devon bowled out for 186 in 48 overs and two balls.
In terms of the Ninch bowling returns; there were three two-wicket hauls; Eliot Acton (2-13 from 2.2 overs), Craig Penberthy (2-29 from 10) and Mitch Pugh (2-54 from 10)while the other three bowlers used each claimed a single wicket; Ross Acton (1-20 from 10), Gary Chappell (1-29 from 10) and Josh Farley (1-40 from seven).
The Bradninch run chase was launched by Gary Chappell and Rory Thomas, but the latter was out to the fifth ball he faced for four to leave Bradninch 6-1, Josh Farley joined Chappell and the pair added 50 for the second wicket before Farley fell to a catch for nine. Mitch Pugh then joined Gary Chappell and the ‘match winning’ partnership began.
Chappell has, of course, been ‘full’ of runs this season while Pugh has struggle to get any sort of a knock going in the rain hit opening five games of the campaign.
However, on matchday six, it all came good for the former Torquay man as he and Chappell added 115 for the third wicket.
It was Pugh who was the third man out, but not before he had scored 55 from 66 deliveries, hitting 10 fours. The third wicket partnership began to the third delivery of the 10th over and, when it was ended, to the fourth ball of the 32nd over, they had put on that 115 in 23.3 overs.
Pugh was replaced by Darren Paul, be he was bowled for a second ball duck. However, Ross Acton came out to bat and he and Chappell saw the side home to a comfortable victory, achieved with 13 overs and six wickets to spare.
As for another Chappell batting master class – he faced 110 balls, hitting the 110th for a four to win the match – that four was his 13th of the match and he also rifled three sixes and now, after one-third of the league campaign is completed, with an unbeaten 97 to his name in his latest knock, ‘Chaps’ is currently averaging 352!
The other not out batsmen at the close was Ross Acton with eight to his name.
The best of the North Devon bowling returns was the 2-29 from fifth change bowler Ben Howe who sent down seven overs.