Pring powers Topsham St James to Bideford victory

PUBLISHED: 07:06 27 June 2018

Looking out from a cricket scorers position

Looking out from a cricket scorers position

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Topsham St James continued their winning ways with a professional performance away at Bideford – who play in the scenic seaside setting of Westward Ho!, writes Matthew Williams.

Home skipper John Weeks won the toss and chose to bat on what looked a superb surface for run-scoring. A late withdrawal meant the Saints made the long journey with only 10 players, and a hard afternoon in the field could have been in store.

Despite some tight opening bowling from Edd Kirby and Mark Phillips, the Tops were made to wait before the first wicket fell, when Neil Shillabeer had James Hayter well caught behind by Aiden Pring. Number three batsman Stevens was in no mood for hanging around, playing his shots from his second ball – and lived a charmed life before skying a catch to Callum Treleaven off the bowling of McShane.

Nari Dhayal came into the attack and took the big wicket of Weeks for 30. After drinks, the Bidefore batsman attacked, with Stanbury making a quick 50 and Hayter Snr and Berry making quick runs, guiding Bideford to 175-4.

Dhayal made the breakthrough by dismissing Berry, then Shillabeer struck again to leave Bideford 176-6. With few overs left Phillips returned and claimed the crucial wicket of Stanbury for a well-made 56, before polishing off the tail – with Bideford losing their final three wickets for no runs to finish on 190 all out. Kirby captained excellently in the field, rotating bowlers and using Phillips (3-20) to great effect. Dhayal (3-35) and Shillabeer (2-44) were the pick of the bowlers.

On that flat wicket on a small ground, 190 looked a chaseable score. Still, Sapwell and Pring had to negotiate some good opening bowling, with Bideford’s Weeks and Luxton giving nothing away. Runs began to come, however, with Sapwell timing the ball nicely.

The opening stand passed 50 before Sapwell edged Luxton behind for 33, and Dhayal soon followed lbw for one and Topsham were 55-2.

Pring was starting to play his shots, and he and Phillips saw the Saints bring up the 100, before the latter was caught off the bowling of Hayter for 20.

Pring continued his serene progress to bring up a fine half-century. When Callum Treleaven was fourth out with the score on 141, the Shells could have collapsed, but Pring and Matt Williams saw the team home with a fine 50 partnership, Pring sealing the win with two big sixes to finish 91 not out.

Topsham captain Edd Kirby, said: “This was a really professional performance against a good Bideford side. I thought we bowled and fielded excellently, especially only having 10 players – and to keep them under 200 on an excellent wicket was superb. Our batting has improved this season, and the way Pring formed the foundation of the run chase and then saw the job through was exceptional.”

Topsham reach the halfway mark of their season this Saturday (June 30) with a home game against Woodbury and Newton St Cyres.

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