The Bradninch 1st XI duly ended a wonderful season with a 10-run win over visiting Heathcoat and it was a player who has had a ‘quiet’ season by the high standards he has set over the campaigns who proved the match-winner.
Ross Acton had, before the final game, scored 101 runs in eight innings (one not out0, but, on the final day of the season, he served up a knock of 71 from 99 balls – hitting 10 fours – to help the side close on 193 from 45.5 overs.
Rory Thomas was first to fall, caught for 20 with the score on 27. Matt Foster joined skipper Gary Chappell and the pair took the innings to 56 when the Aussie fell having scored 16 from 31 deliveries. It was his third lowest score of the term, but it was enough to take him last the magical figure of 900 league runs for the campaign! Just 14 runs were added when skipper Chappell fell for 23 – also his third lowest return of the campaign and it was soon 89-4 with the loss of Tim Piper for six.
Dan Hardy was next man in – and out, in his case caught and bowled for 17, leaving the total 128-5. Ross Acton, batting at number five, was joined by Andrew Buzza, and they took the total to 186 when the Acton innings was finally ended with the score on 186. There were very few additional runs scored as the total slipped from 186-5 to 192 all out as Andrew Buzza (17), Will Greig (0), Bryn Jones (2) and Eliot Acton (3), all fell cheaply leaving Will Squire the not out batsman on one and the Ninch total a sub 200 one at 193 all out with four overs and one ball remaining of the 50 overs.
The Heathcoat reply got off to a flyer with former Bradninch player Jackson Thompson slamming a trademark half century from just 31 balls faced. However, the 32nd ball he received, sent down by Gary Chappell, was rifled into the hands of Will Squire to leave Heathcoat a wicket down for 80.
It was soon 115 as Chappell got his second and third wickets and Andrew Buzza claimed the first of his two, while Matt Foster affected a run out. The sixth wicket partnership looked like getting the visitors back into the contest, but, with 149 runs on the board, Bryn Jones took a catch off the Foster bowling.
However, the visitors continue to chip away at the required total and, at 169-6, they were just 25 runs shy of the winning line when Chappell bagged his fourth wicket courtesy of a Ross Acton catch. The game was still in the balance when the eight wicket fell with the score on 181 – Gary Chappell finally ending the Heathcoat opener’s innings with Matt Foster holding the catch.
Just one more run was added before Ross Acton bagged a run-out and, fittingly, given he has had such a fantastic season, skipper Gary Chappell applied the final act of the season, knocking over the Heathcoat last man’s stumps to see his side to a final day 10-run victory.
The bowling honours went to the skipper with his ‘fivefer’- his return being 5-25 from 9.3 overs. Andrew Buzza’s return was 2-61 from 10 overs and Matt Foster (1-51 from nine) was the other wicket taker. The fourth bowler used was Dan Hardy (0-38 from three overs).