Bradninch 1st XI enjoyed a wonderful matchday 13 of the 2021 Tolchards Devon Cricket League A Division campaign as they recorded a 41-run home win over Plympton and then learnt of defeats for their two rivals at the top of the table, North Devon, beaten at Abbotskerswell and Torquay, who were toppled at Budleigh Salterton.
After losing the toss and being invited to bat first, Gary Chappell and Thom Bunker added 49 for the opening wicket which was that of Bunker, bowled for a 26-ball, three boundary, 17. Ross Acton was next in – and out – bowled for a second ball duck. That brought Mitch Pugh out to join Chappell, but Pugh was soon the third home wicket to be lost, in his case, caught and bowled for an eight ball five.
Josh Farley was in at five and he and Chappell put together what was, ultimately, the match determining partnership, adding 108 for the fourth wicket which was that of young Farley, but not before he had chalked up a splendid half century. Farley was eventually trapped leg before by the 59th delivery he faced. He hit seven fours before trooping off with 54 runs to his name.
Ankit Badwal was next in – and out – caught having already launched one of the two balls he had faced over the boundary ropes! That left Bradninch on 170-4 and it was soon 171-5 with the demise of Gary Chappell,. But not before he had scored his third successive half century – ‘Chaps’ hit 11 fours and three sixes in what was a 74-ball 73.
Craig Penberthy and Aryan Raigangar both fell before 100 was on the home score board, Penberthy for a 21-ball eight and Raigangar for a three ball one which meant Ninch were 196-8 with skipper Eliot Acton joined at the wicket by Darren Paul.
The pair saw the side past 200 but, with the total on 205, Paul became the ninth man down, out for a second ball duck. Skipper Acton and last man Will Squire took the side to 224 before the skipper was the final wicket to fall, in his case having scored a 44-ball, four boundary 28. Squire was unbeaten on three from 11 deliveries.
Chasing 225 to win, Plympton were soon 9-2 with Squire holding a catch to give Mitch Pugh a wicket and then Ross Acton knocked over the stumps. The third wicket pairing took the total to 67 when Ross Acton held a catch to give Gary Chappell his first wicket of the day and just two runs were added before former Ninch player Jack Horton became the fourth visiting batsmen to be sent back, in his case, trapped leg before wicket by Josh Farley.
It was soon 92-5 with a second victim for Chappell, this one to a leg before appeal and a sixth wicket was snared with the score on 126 with Ross Acton holding a second catch to give Craig Penberthy his first wicket.
The seventh wicket was claimed by Chappell, his third of the contest to leave the visitors on 145-7 and it was quickly 148-8 with a thord catch for Ross Acton and a second wicket for Josh Farley.
The ninth wicket partnership proved a stubborn one to claim, but, with the score on 173, Will Squire held his second catch of the contest and Aryan Raigangar became the sixth different bowler to claim a wicket.
Fittingly, it was skipper Eliot Acton who finished things off, holding a catch to give Mitch Pugh his second wicket of the day to leave Plympton bowled out for 183 in one ball shy of 38 overs to leave Bradninch as winners by a margin of 41 runs.
As for the Bradninch bowling figures, Gary Chappell’s was 3-25 was also the most economic at 2.78 – ‘Chaps’ sending down a full shift of nine overs. Josh Farley, who put in a fine all-round shift to push Chappell all the way for the ‘star all-round performance’, had figures of 2-45 from eight overs and there were also a brace of wickets for Mitch Pugh (2-23 from 6.5 overs). The Ross Acton return was 1-33 from seven and the other returns were, 1-37 from four overs sent down by Craig Penberthy and 1-16 from three overs delivered by Aryan Raigangar.
So, barring a ‘Devon Loch’ type collapse over the final five games of the season, Bradninch 1st XI will be back in the top flight of Devon League cricket next summer – not that skipper Eliot Acton and his merry men will be taking anything for granted for ‘El’ will point to their still being five games to be contested and 100 points to be played for.