Thom Bunker hit a six off the first ball of the 47th over to bring up his own half century – his first at 1st XI level for the club and the hit also sealed a six wicket win over Sandford.
Ross Acton suffered a nasty blow to his left eye when fielding at first slip that necessitated in a spell on the sidelines, but he eventually returned to the action to claim a four wicket haul and he then scored 46 from the number two slot to play a big part in the side securing win number 11 in 14 games.
However, the result was a lot closer than the wicket margin of victory would suggest. Indeed, a superb knock by teenager Thom Bunker was pivotal in the success of the run chase.
Sandford batted first and made a confident start only for a stunning one-handed return catch by Ryan Shrewsberry to break the opening partnership with the score then 49-1 after 14 overs.
A Thom Bunker catch off the bowling of Will Grieg saw the innings two wickets down with 82 on the board in the 24th over.
A 70-run partnership then threatened to switch the game in favour of the visitors, but skipper Gary Chappell reintroduced himself into the attack for a second spell and broker the partnership thanks to catch behind by Josh Cann.
That sparked a collapse as Sandford slipped from 151-2 to 195 all out, losing their last eight wickets for just 43 runs across 11 overs and one ball!
Acton claimed his ‘fourfer’, hitting the stumps three times and holding a smart return catch to finish with figures of 4-27 from 8.5 overs.
Skipper Chappell bagged the all-important wicket of former Bradninch player – and the nephew of club chairman Derrick Foan – Richard Foan – for an impressive run-a-ball five boundary 40 – (Foan being eventually bowled by Chappell) and also bagged another thanks to a Will Squire catch to finish with 3-42 from a full shift of 120 overs.
Single wickets fell to Will Greig (1-27 in six) Will Squire (1-39 in 10) and Ryan Shrewsberry (1-18 in three). Cameron Suidgeest was the only bowler not to have any joy as his eight overs saw a return of 0-32.
Gary Chappell led the reply from the front. Opening with Ross Acton, ‘Chaps’ hit yet another half century before being bowled for 10-boundary 63-ball 53.
He and Acton put on 81 for the first wicket in 20 overs and one ball. Lautaro Musiani was next man in – and out, caught off the bowling of Richard Foan for 2 to leave the reply 86-2. Josh Cann joined Acton and they put on 51 in 15 overs and two balls before Cann fell to a catch for 43-ball 23. Seventeen-year-old Thom Bunker, the 2nd XIs leading run scorer, was in at four and he and Acton took the side mighty close to the finishing line, adding 42 in just eight overs (Bunker getting 35 of the runs in that quick-fire partnership). Acton was third man down for a knock of 46 having been at the crease for two hours and 18 minutes, facing 131 balls, hitting two boundaries. It was 179-4 after 44 overs when Acton departed.
However, young Bunker was still there and he was joined by Cameron Suidgeest and the pair saw the side safely home with the win sealed in the 47th over with Bunker slamming his fifth six, ironically off Richard Foan, to bring up his own half century – his first in 1st XI league cricket.
The Bunker innings lasted 31 minutes and he faced 42 balls hitting three fours and five sixes!
Suidgeest was the other not out batsman at the close on five.