Phillips powers Topsham St James to opening league game win over Budleigh

PUBLISHED: 10:04 29 July 2020

Mark Phillips batting for Topsham St James in the win at Bradninch. Picture STEVE BIRLEY

Mark Phillips batting for Topsham St James in the win at Bradninch. Picture STEVE BIRLEY


With heavy rain all morning and dark clouds still looming overhead, it was in hope rather than expectation that both Topsham James 1st XI and Budleigh Salterton 2nd XI arrived at the picturesque Kenn Cricket Ground for the first league game of the season, writes Jonathan Sapwell.

Budleigh won the toss and, after a lengthy delay to the start of play, asked Topsham to bat in a game shortened to 28 overs per side.

The two openers made a steady start for Topsham, but Chris Battin struck twice in two balls for Budleigh to leave the score board displaying 36-2 before the rain returned to send everyone back under cover!

A further delay left the game reduced to one of 26-overs per side and, when they resumed, the Topsham batsmen looked to increase the run rate.

The undoubted start of the batting effort was Mark Phillips who put bat to ball with blistering effect. Indeed, when he was finally out, caught and bowled off the final delivery of his side’s innings, Phillips was on 110 and had scored his runs from just 53 deliveries! He thumped seven sixes and also hit eight fours.

The ‘best of the rest’ was a knock of 32 from Aiden Pring who helped add 111 for the third wicket and Topsham ended on 184-5.

The Budleigh reply was a positive one until an instinctive one-handed catch at slip by Charlie Penn off the bowling of Rahul Antony broke the deadlock. Steve Booth (44) and Lee Russell (36) continued to eat into Topsham’s total, but, when both were bowled by Mark Phillips the match seemed beyond Budleigh.

Some late impressive hitting from Harvey Shipton, who scored an unbeaten 24, caused some Topsham nerves, but an excellent late spell from Rhys Norman helped limit Budleigh to their closing total of 164-5 and leaving Topsham St James as the winners by a margin of 20 runs.

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