Thursday, September 5, 2013
Topsham St James’ problem all season has been a woeful inability to hold their catches, and at least half a dozen chances went begging against North Devon.
This was arguably responsible for giving the visitors the points they needed to ensure promotion, whilst Topsham finished third from bottom of the League table.
For much of the game, however, Topsham more than held their own, with Dom Collins conceding just 20 runs from his nine overs, and young Tom Sage, making his 2nd XI debut, bowling a superb spell of 6-0-18-2. The ball with which he got his second wicket was arguably the delivery of the season, swinging in and then cutting away to take the top of off stump. The other wicket-takers were Rudi Ellis (1-36) with yet another reliably accurate opening spell, and Jon Hull (1-63). Another young 2nd XI debutant, James Lee, bowled well, but without luck.
For North Devon, batting initially was a bit of a struggle on a slow pitch, and the innings was held together by skipper Tom Stanton, until he pulled a muscle and had to retire on 49. Unfortunately for Topsham, that let in Rob Gear, former first team captain, who smashed a rapid 78 and completely changed the complexion of the game, allowing North Devon to reach a total of 234-4. Fred Beiderman finished unbeaten on 40.
When Topsham St James batted, they rarely got out of first gear against some very tight bowling. Dave Smale used all his considerable experience to take 3-15 in 9 overs, a masterpiece of control and economy. Lee Solway looked good until he was a little unlucky to be given out lbw for 18, but the pick of the batsmen was Jon Hull who hit a classy 51, before being bowled by a ball that barely bounced. Against the lesser bowlers, Neil Argyle played as stylishly as ever for 34 not out, accompanied by a belligerent innings from Club Chairman Rupert Pratt, 43 not out, who had us all wondering why this was his first Saturday game of the season.
Topsham St James 2nd XI skipper Mike Tracey said: “It’s a puzzler for me, and others at the club, as to just why this team did do better during a season in which the eleven were rarely outclassed, but all too often fell just short of what was required to clinch the odd victory. That said, it was an enjoyable summer, and we can all await next season in good heart.”