Colts Save 3's Inningsby Vince Reddick
As the 3's relentless charge for promotion continued at Bicton, we anticipated a pretty straight forward victory over Topsham St. James, who still haven't won a game all season. As usual, skipper Reddick lost the toss and was asked to bat. Not something that he usually minds, but the Bicton wicket looked a lot greener than usual after the heavy rain of Thursday night. With some moisture still evident and showers forecast for later in the day, Reddick had fancied a bowl in an effort to beat the weather and Topsham. So, of we went in pursuit of 200+ and a 20 point win, and as is becoming the norm lately, we lost early wickets. We were reduced to 36 for 4 as the ball swung and Dave Gambie bowled a nagging line and length with ball nibbling about. As the skipper stood umpiring in the middle, he started to think '150 will be enough'. He had no need to worry - Under 15 Jo Fanous joined Under 13 debutant Ben Green at the crease and the skipper's worries were over. The youngsters set about rebuilding our innings, playing very sensibly and batting with the kind of maturity seldom seen at their age. The pair showed how to bat on a wicket offering plenty of support for the bowlers, playing straight and respecting the good balls, whilst dismissing the bad balls to the boundary. Jo Fanous adopted the support role as Ben played fluently with an array of strokes that any batsman would've been proud of. Green reached his 50 first, and the pair marched on as Jo reached his 50 soon after. Past the 100 partnership and onwards the pair went. Neither offered a chance and the pair rarely even played and missed. Past 150 partnership and now starting to accelerate as the overs ticked down. A couple of heavy showers had robbed us of two overs, but we had Ben & Joey (isn't that ice cream?) firing on all cylinders. The 'Green Machine' bought up his maiden 100 with an exquisite pull behind square for 4. As the pair enevitably tired after their mammoth partnership, Ben swung at one late on and bottom edged it onto his stumps to bring his innings to end on 109, and the partnership had added 178 runs.
Pete Hensor hammered 22 from 6 balls before being stumped off of the final ball of the innings, leaving Jo Fanous unbeaten on 64 and we finished on 237 for 7. A truly herculian effort by our youngsters had put us back in control, and both players were warmly congratulated by their older team mates.
Reddick had planned to open the bowling with Ben, but he was excused this as he was rather tired from his batting exploits. This was no problem as we had considerable options, not least the benefit of having Pete Hensor in the team. He opend with the returning from injury Paul Jordan and the pair gave little away. Pete was virtually unplayable and claimed 3 for 12 before having to come off after a 7 over spell (damn ECB age group regulations!) 'Jordy' claimed a couple at the other end and Topsham were capitulating. Enter Yodhan Sachdev to replace Pete. He proceded to turn the ball 'square' as Topsham tried hard just to survive. With 2 slips, a gully, short cover and short leg, as well as a short point, it was a fair bet that a catch would be snaffled by someone. Sure enough, Yodhan ripped one which took the edge and Ben Green got in on the action again by claiming a sharp catch at 2nd slip. Stevie Easterbrook claimed a stumping off of Yodhan as Topsham looked increasingly clueless against Yodhan's predigious turn. Sami Islam replaced Paul J and claimed 2 for 5 and taking the last wicket. The only thing to spoil Sami's figures was that the 5 runs he conceded were 4 wides and 1 no ball! Yodhan finished with 3 for 8 from his 5 overs and we shot Topsham St. James out for 52 with only extras reaching double figures.
A massive 185 run win, which sets up what may be the title decider against second placed Upottery at Bicton next Saturday.