Topsham St James 2nds all set to visit table-toppers

A cricket ball on the scorers table.

A cricket ball on the scorers table. - Credit: Archant

Topsham St James 2nds beat 10-man Filleigh to sit third in the Tolchards Devon League H Division East table, writes Mike Tracey.

It was another day of low scoring at Topsham, as the bone-dry wicket offered capricious bounce and the well-grassed outfield severely restricted boundary opportunities.

Topsham were invited to bat, and were in trouble almost immediately as Mike Tracey somehow managed to kick a putative wide onto his stumps in only the second over. Fortunately his opening partner, Adrian Ferraro, was in good form and comfortably top-scored with a classy 34 before losing concentration, although Ryan Miszka, who scored an undefeated century on his last outing, could manage only 14 this time.

Neil Shillabeer weighed in with 15 and Elliot Eady with 11, but nobody else reached double figures, although Charlie Ferraro was unlucky to be bowled by a ball that never left the ground after pitching. It was left to youngsters Rhys Norman and Dan Thornhill, who was not out, to yet again show their elders how to treat every ball on its merits and properly pace an innings. As it was, Topsham were all out for 122, with nearly 15 overs of their specified allotment still to be bowled.

Three Filleigh bowlers took three wickets apiece. The openers were a marked contrast - young Joe Floyd was the only one to bowl his full allotment, and ended with a very respectable return of 3 for 25. The somewhat older, and fuller of figure, Kevin Toze came back well from an early mauling to claim 3-38, and Simon Prosser came on perhaps a little later than he should have done and ended up with 3-15 off five overs. The other wicket fell to Dan Butler (1-18).

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When Filleigh batted they found even more problems than those they had created for Topsham. The home side's bowlers, with a little more pace and aggression, brought out the worst in the pitch, with a number of balls rearing disconcertingly from not far short of a length.

At 25-5, the game looked as good as over, but the later Filleigh batsmen had other ideas. Chris Cullen led the way with a fighting 22 in a sixth-wicket partnership of 44 with Ed Butler. Ed contributed 20 of his own, but was then out with 49 still needed.

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Forty-two of those were added by Simon Prosser and Will Blowers, while the Topsham bowlers lost their earlier edge, and an upset became an ever-greater possibility. Fortunately for the home side, Neil Shillabeer rose to the occasion, and with the Filleigh total on 116 he bowled both Blowers and Joe Floyd in the space of three balls.

How Filleigh regretted the lack of an eleventh man, whose presence would probably have made all the difference.

All the Topsham bowlers performed creditably. Ryan Miszka again demonstrated his happy ability to take wickets, ending with 4 for 31. Neil Shillabeer had those last two for 18, while Rhys Norman, who bowled really well at the start without a great deal of luck, bagged 2-24. Skipper Jack Telford was by far the most economical, with 1-10 from a full eight-over complement. Dan Thornhill and Charlie Ferraro were wicketless, but both bowled well. Topsham's fielding was again above the standard of recent seasons, with Elliot Eady frequently in the thick of the action.

On Saturday (June 8), Topsham 2nds travel to table-topping Kilmington 2nds

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