Topsham St James 2nd XI undone by loan players
PUBLISHED: 08:19 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:20 31 July 2019
Topsham St James 2nd XI went down by a margin of 54 runs when they entertained Countess Wear 2nds at the Bonfire Field, writes Mike Tracey.
The visitors made up their numbers with two loan players from Thorverton, whose 2nd XI play two divisions higher, and they effectively provided the margin of victory.
Wear won the toss and chose to bat on a wicket which was never easy and prone to some uneven bounce.
The vast experience of Thorverton's Alan Birmingham was crucial, as he shared an opening partnership of 61with Hugh Sheridan (27) and eventually top-scored with 48.
The only other batsmen in double figures were Zac Burnard with 15, and Gary Spragg with a hard-hit 35 not out, although 45 extras, including 37 wides, played a major part in enabling Wear to close on 196-7.
For Topsham St James, Rhys Norman conceded only nine runs from his four overs, before taking over wicket-keeping duties from Charlie Ferraro, who then took 1-33 from his four.
The other wickets fell in pairs - Maddy Ross took 2-44 and Jack Purchall 2-28, while 13-year-old Morgan Maynard, making his debut in adult cricket, produced a very commendable 2-29.
When Topsham batted they lost both their likeliest match-winners, Adrian Ferraro and Narender Dhayal, early on.
After that things were never going to be easy, and the middle order became almost becalmed against some steady bowling, spearheaded by the other Thorverton player, James May, who took only one wicket, but conceded only 13 runs from his eight overs.
Elliot Eady played a brief cameo for 15, but young Alan Peter battled long and hard without being able to penetrate the field, as did another 13-year-old, Billy Knightley, although he eventually overcame his difficulties and ended up top scorer with a beautifully-crafted 34.
Rhys Norman and Jack Purchall both ended on 17 not out, with some late-order aggression, but it was too little too late, and the Topsham innings ended on 142-7.
The other Countess Wear wicket-takers were Gary Spragg (2-23), Seb Looker (2-32), skipper Rob Ansell (1-18) and Sam Plumb (1-35).
They were worthy winners, but Topsham St James will always wonder what might have happened without the loan players!