Topsham 2nds well beaten by youthful Exmouth 3rd XI
PUBLISHED: 09:25 07 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:25 07 June 2018
Topsham St James' fall from grace continued with a six wicket defeat to an Exmouth 3rd XI side featuring no fewer than nine colts, writes Mike Tracey.
The Topsham openers, Mike and Alex Davison, were both picking up a bat for the first time this season, and father Mike was soon on his way, trapped leg before wicket by the very impressive Emma Corney who, ironically, plays her ladies cricket for Topsham.
Son Alex at least got into double figures before he went, caught behind off Sam Austin for 10, following which Neil Shillabeer contributed a well-constructed 25.
Tom Russell, who batted so well the previous week, was unlucky to get another good ball from Emma, but his fellow under-13 Charlie Ferraro contributed a very good-looking 10 on his adult debut, and demonstrated a maturity beyond his years. Top scorer was again Paul Robins with a characteristically aggressive 33 off 26 balls, but the only other batsman in double figures was Jack Purchall with 13, part of a breezy last wicket stand, the third highest of the innings, which got Topsham to an unimpressive total of 127.
This was largely due to some fine bowling from the young Exmouth attack. Emma Corney and Rory Craib took the honours, with 3-32 and 3-39 respectively. Ollie Pugsley weighed in with 2-28, and Sam Austin and Ethan Brenton took one apiece. Josh Austin was wicketless, but he had time for only one over at the end, and that was a maiden.
When Exmouth batted, only two men reached double figures, but that was more than enough. One of the two veterans, Roger Wensley, was beginning to look good when he was superbly caught by Charlie Ferrarro off the bowling of brother Louie.
By this time, Ethan Brenton had been forced to retire hurt after facing only three balls, when he was hit on the shoulder by a ball that lifted sharply.
Other batsmen came and went cheaply, but Ollie Pugsley, who had a fine all-round game (in addition to his two wickets he took three catches in the Topsham innings), stood firm and displayed a fine range of strokes, eventually finishing on 59 not out.
He was helped over the finishing line by his skipper, the grizzled, but evergreen Julian Page, who is far too good to be playing at this level, and who smacked 34 not out off 27 balls with consummate ease.
The Topsham bowlers tried hard, and there was one wicket apiece for the Ferraro brothers, Matt Williams and Joe Embery.
The team has now slipped to second in the fledgling table, and has played a game more than anybody else.
It is their turn to sit it out next Saturday, after which the true position will be a little clearer.