Established 1891

The BIG INTERVIEW – a chat with the skipper

We caught up with skipper Gary Chapell who is away on holiday (yes, we did suggest leaving the chat to allow him to have a ‘break’, but typical of Gary he said he was more than happy to answer the questions.

So, first up, we asked Gary what his pre-match feeling was going into the game against Exmouth at Kensham Park on match day four of the Tolchards Devon League cricket season.

Gary responded:

“If I’m completely honest I thought it would be a tough ask to beat Exmouth when missing key players, but I knew they were a bit short as well.

Cricket is a funny game and Exmouth don’t do too well against us, particularly at our place.”

Next up we asked what he had in mind as score given that he had little doubt in batting first. Gary’s response was:

“From ball one I felt we needed 250-270 to win as it was a great pitch and we were missing Ross and had Matt injured, but 180-200 we would be in the game given Exmouth were missing a couple and haven’t been particularly good with the bat this year yet.

At 77-3 I would have bitten your hand off for 220 seeing as we were missing batters.”

In terms of the batting effort, we put it the skipper that the partnership between Tim [Piper] and Andrew [Buzza], was very good and arguably what underpinned the batting effort to reach a near 250 close.

The skipper said:

“Pipes and Buzza did a great job.

We got off to a bit of a flyer which allowed them to rebuild and get their eye in for a little bit before accelerating nicely nearer the end.

Pipes has started the season in good form and plays the role in the middle very well with his experience.

Buzza has promised something all season as has looked good in the nets. It was great to see him step up and take responsibility.

He has always played in sides at Exmouth with county players, but now he is a senior player with us he understands he needs to make bigger contributions and that’s exactly what he did!

I’m confident he will continue to make match winning innings for us.”

Next up, we asked  the skipper what he was thinking at tea with the batting effort completed. He said:

“At tea I felt 248 was a very decent score, but only par. But the momentum gained from Greggy’s [Will Greig] quick 25 at the end probably made us slight favourites.

We knew the pitch would deteriorate and be beneficial to our bowling attack given we had 40 overs of spin available.

Exmouth have some good players who like to get on with it, so with a good pitch and Bradninch being a small ground it was important to not let a few boundaries or a partnership get our heads down.

Not many teams can construct a chase of 250 very well, it’s a lot of runs regardless of how good the pitch is, and teams don’t bat that deep so we would never be out of the game as a couple wickets would always swing it back in our favour.

All I asked for before the post tea session was 100 per cent from everyone and that we play as a team and support each other.

That’s all I can ask because at the end of the day we’re amateurs and there’s bound to be mistakes made.”

As for the post tea session, we just ‘had’ to ask the question: “What did you make of that catch by Matt Parker?”

Gary’s response was:

Matt’s catch was the best I’ve ever seen on a cricket field, and I doubt there will ever be a better one.

A one handed diver on the boundary with his wrong hand is good enough, but the fact it was hit at him flat… I don’t know how it stuck!

Just another good day for him as he is proving to be a reliable bowler for us and has got us off to good starts in the last three games!”

Next, we asked the skipper for his views on what we saw as a terrific set of continual bowling changes and whether that was a deliberate tactic.

The skipper replied:

“I do like to rotate bowlers so batsman don’t settle and bowlers remain fresh and don’t overbowl.

I feel at times in my captaincy before I’ve bowled guys one over too many and it’s ended up going for 10 plus runs.

Also, Exmouth had a lot of left handers so it was a strategy to bowl our off spinners to them, and our left arm spinners to the right handers.

This made life more difficult for the batters, particularly given how much turn and bounce there was.

The fact Matt [Australian Matt Foster] can bowl decent off-spin proved beneficial as he got rid of two of Exmouth’s best batters early on.

And Buzza is quickly turning into a very useful off-spinner. He is way ahead of where I expected him to be at this stage given he only took it back up this season after bowling pace for the last few years.

He has bowled very well the last two weeks!”

Last, but certainly not least, we asked the skipper for his general over view on the early part of the season with four of the 18 match days done and dusted.

Gary responded with:

“The last two weeks have been a real confidence boost and made everyone realise they/we are more than good enough to succeed at this level.

Availability issues will hinder us all year, but we have a lot of good players who seem keen to put their hand up and win us a game!

One thing I would stress though is that we are not getting ahead of ourselves as it’s only two wins and there’s a long way to go.

But with Matt [Foster] regaining fitness and hopefully bowling pace this weekend, and Will Squire getting himself back into it after missing the first three games, we have a nice mix of bowling options which makes my life easier as we can have more plans to certain batters and situations.

Pretty much all our batters have had time in the middle and made a contribution, and it was great to see Rory get us off to a good start at the weekend.

He looked pretty comfortable and his attacking nature put us on the front foot – he will get another chance opening this weekend.

After a stuttering start and poor preparation pre-season we are finally getting to where I wanted and expected us to be.

I just hope availability picks up and the 2nd XI can start getting decent sides out to record some wins to really give the whole club a boost and make it a successful and enjoyable summer!”

We will bring you more from the skipper in a fortnight’s time.