Eight years after the side began a season as a C Division squad, Bradninch Cricket Club will next summer line up in the top flight of Devon County Cricket for the very first time in their long history. It is a real achievement and something that so many people at the club have cherished for a great deal of time.
The penultimate round of matches had a familiar ring about it with the wretched weather that has blighted so much of this season, once again hitting the game. The match with Brixham was abandoned with the visitors on a perilous 124-7 replying to the Bradninch offering of 215-7.
At the start of the day the mathematics of the situation were quite straightforward, bank eleven points and no matter what happens elsewhere then promotion is guaranteed. Those points were sealed initially by a powerful batting display that produced half centuries from Ryan Butterworth (63) and Gary Chappell (57) in a total of 215-7. Then visitors Brixham were left on 124-7 when the Umpires took the sides off the pitch.
Skipper Joel Murphy and teenager Chappell both bagged braces whilst Australian all-rounder Adrian Ezquerro, who has been instrumental in the side”s charge towards the top flight this term, claimed a three wicket haul.
Bradninch Vice Chairman Paul Nott summed up the feeling at the Mid Devon side:
“We are all so thrilled to have finally achieved something which we have been building towards over a period of time. Some time ago we set ourselves some targets that we privately felt were realistic enough and here we are, all set to compete with the very best the County League has to offer next season.
From a personal point of view I cannot wait for the opportunity to play in the Premier Division. It will be a highlight of my own cricketing achievements and I do believe that with the current mix of youth and experience that we have at the Club, we”ll give a decent account of ourselves next summer.”
Life long supporter Ken Salter says:
“It’s wonderful to think that the side will now compete at the highest level but I fancy there is a bit of hard work to be done in order that when they do play in the Premier Division, they do so in such a way that they will make their mark at that level.
They will perhaps need to import three or four quality players but the nucleus of a decent team is already at the club and I commend them for a wonderful achievement in getting the team into the Premier Division.”
The promotion celebrations at the Kensham Park pavilion were slightly tainted when news came through that Bovey Tracey had nudged ahead in the race to be acclaimed champions. That matter will now be decided on the final day. Murphy’s men travel to Barton whilst Bovey Tracey go to Braunton. Bovey go into the final games with a single point advantage and so there will be a number of calls no doubt being made between North and South Devon this coming Saturday afternoon and early evening.