Topsham St James 2nd Xi dent the Cherries title hopes
PUBLISHED: 14:56 21 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:56 21 August 2018
Last week Topsham St James gave Feniton's championship chances a great boost, losing to them by a large margin in a match marred by persistent drizzle, writes Mike Tracey.
This week they did Feniton an even greater favour by completing an unlikely double over their only serious contenders, Cheriton Fitzpaine 1st XI.
A win seemed very unlikely when the Topsham batting struggled for more than 37 overs before subsiding to a miserable 93 all out.
The pitch seemed to hold few devils, but none of the batsmen could make any headway against accurate bowling. Skipper Callum Treleaven looked good for 12 off 32 balls, before getting out. Down the order, Nigel Hymas went one better with 13 off 25 balls, but the only batsman who tried to attack was Paul Robins, who notched 16 off 18 balls and looked relatively comfortable in so doing.
The bowling honours for Cheriton Fitzpaine went to Tom Sommer, who looked decidedly quick at times and ended with 5-20 in seven overs.
He was, however, very expensive when compared with Jim Cutler, who took 1-7 in eight overs, five of which were maidens. Skipper Nick Roud chipped in with 2-24, and there was one wicket apiece for Alex Jess and Ashley Wreford.
The match at this stage was clearly heading for a Cheriton win, but nobody had told the Topsham bowlers.
The opening attack of Usman Sheikh and Mandar Deshpande imposed an immediate stranglehold, and by the time they were rested the visitors had subsided to 17-4.
Tom Sommer and John Waite then more than doubled the score, before Waite was out for 11 off 43 balls.
The rest of the match depended on Sommer. After his spectacular bowling return, he again dominated proceedings, attacking vigorously before he was eighth man out with the total on 83, having recorded by far the highest score of the match - 39.
Unfortunately for Cheriton, not only was he eighth out, he was last out – having started the match with only 10 men, Cheriton then lost ‘keeper Jeremy Tricks, called away after the tea break to deal with a professional emergency.
This was bad luck on Cheriton, but good for Topsham and, of course, Feniton.
For Topsham, Sheikh took 2-13 and Deshpande 2-10.
The other bowlers were less economical, but all took wickets and played their parts well. Maddy Ross had 2-11, while Dan Thornhill and Jasper Rockey took one each.
The catching showed a distinct improvement on recent weeks, and Topsham St James well deserved their narrow victory, particularly in view of their refusal to give in when everything seemed set against them.