Bradninch 2nd XI were skittled out for just 70 in 33.3 overs on their visit to Honiton 1st XI where they cpntested a Tolchards Devon League E Division East game, but that sub 100 score so nearly proved a winning one as the home team only got home with two wickets to spare, thanks to a splendid unbeaten 28 from Under-15 player James Matravers.
It was wet upon arrival at Mountbatten Park and the game could not get underway until 2.15pm by which time the contest to be played was one of 35-overs-per-side.
Bradninch skipper Chris Acton lost the toss and was asked to bat first and opening pair Will Birley and Paul Nott had put on five when Nott was caught and bowled by home opening seamer, teenager, James Matravers. Nott was out for one and Birley fell six overs later, in his case after being bowled by a ball that kept so low it hit the base of his middle stump! Birley was out for 14 and, from 21-2 it was soon 21-3 with skipper Acton suffering a second ball duck – also falling victim to teenager Matravers.
Just six runs were added before ‘Ninch’ lost a fourth wicket – Connor Carthew being bowled by Corey Lapping, the left hander dismissed for 10.
James Mills then joined Dave Penberthy and the latter looked in fine touch, rifling a brace of fours before he was adjudged – harshly it must be noted – leg before wicket, and he trooped back very disconsolately for a 13-ball 14.
Wickets six and seven both fell with the Mountbatten Park score board showing 51 runs as Pete Harmer and Vinny Clark both succumbed to straight deliveries from Willy Graham.
Just four runs were added before James Mills was caught off a leading edge, out for 11 to leave Bradninch then a troubled 55-8.
Pete Hardy joined Christopher Dean at the wicket and the pair set about grinding down the home side – though, and rightly so, given what happened later in the contest, as much as it was a case of boredom by dot balls for the folk watching, Dean (the clubs erstwhile chairman) and Hardy will point to the fact that the dozen runs they added from 10 overs at the crease, so nearly ‘set up’ an unlikely win.
Indeed, chairman Deano faced 45 balls for his five while Hardy received 41 deliveries for his six and even last man Johnny Reed got in the act as he faced 20 balls for his unbeaten one as Bradninch were all out for 70 from 33.3 overs.
There were some impressive figures produced by the Honiton bowlers, none more so than those of teenager James Matravers who had figures of 3-16 from six overs.
Will Graham sent down seven overs for his return of 3-6 and there were also seven overs sent down by Michael Docherty who had figures of 2-6.
Faced with such a low total on the board, the Bradninch bowlers had to deliver something special – and they did! James Mills achieved a hat-trick! Andrew Lapping fell first, caught by Paul Nott off Mills with the score on nine and then, with the board showing 27, Mills struck with the fifth and sixth deliveries of his fifth over, first having Chris Acton hold a catch and then trapping a home batsmen leg before to the very first delivery he faced and then, with the first ball of his very next over, Mills completed his treble thanks to a wonderful catch in the slips held by Christopher Dean.
That all left Honiton on 31-4 with Mills having claimed all four wickets and it was soon 38-5 thanks to a smart piece of fielding by Connor Carthew – who picked up and took the bails off at the non strikers end to run out the home skipper.
It was soon 47-6 and 49-7, first thanks to a smart Will Birley throw to effect a run out and then skipper Acton hit the stumps!
There was one more magical moment for a battling Bradninch and that came when Birley held a catch to give his skipper a second wicket.
However, that’s as good as it got for Ninch as the home teams teenager, James Matravers, scored 10 runs in the 22nd over of the run chase to see his side to a narrow win.
Just four bowlers were used by Bradninch and the pick of the figures were the 4-20, including that hat-trick, from James Mills, while Chris Acton had 2-12 from his seven and there was a fine seven overs sent down by Connor Carthew (0-29) whole the other bowler used was Paul Nott, bravely defying a back injury to try and work some magic at the end.
So, not to be – again – for the 2nd XI, but my, they made Honiton 1st XI work so hard to enjoy the spoils of victory.