After the tremendous result against Countess Wear last week, a bigger challenge loomed this week in not only beating Exmouth lll Xl, but beating the weather forecast as well.
With rain forecast from 4 o'clock, it was one hell of a toss to win! Luckily, visiting Captain Lucy Burch called it wrong and the returning Reddick (Senior) had no hesitation in inviting Exmouth to try their luck against our formidable bowling resources. Exmouth set about their task with purpose, punishing loose deliveries for numerous early 4's. Drew was particularly punished, not bowling with his usual pace and accuracy - the result of a finger dislocated during training on Thursday (which he kept quiet about until after the innings!).
Despite the score rattling along at 6-8 an over, the Skipper continued to set an attacking field - unperturbed by the rate given the speed of the outfield and the potency of our batting unit. James Vanstone plugged away at the Pavilion End, bowling with good pace, but the occasional short ball was despatched with disdain by Aaron Conway - who was dropped behind off of James' bowling, and survived two plumb 'middle of middle' appeals off of Drew's bowling (their umpire!).
The introduction of Jim Wenley after 11 overs saw Conway's fourth innings end for 38 with the score on 73, brilliantly caught one handed low to his left by Sam Reddick at 1st slip. 8 runs later Jim struck again and the tail was exposed! From 81 for 2, Drew, and especially Jim. demolished the remains of the Exmouth batting order, reducing them to 118 all out.
Despite the finger problem, Drew claimed 3 for 53 from 12, but the chief tormentor was the ever reliable Jim with what he seems to think are career best figures of 7 for 27 in 7 overs - taking Jim's season stats to 16 for 52!
Some good fielding late on supported the bowling efforts of Smith & Wenley and saw Exmouth dismissed for 118 after 24 overs. An immediate turn around meant that we had a chance of beating Exmouth and the rain before tea.
A brief conversation between the Skipper, Fradge & Sam resulted in the decision to gun it early whilst respecting the (rare) good balls. Fradge was a man on a mission and Sam was content with taking singles to get the possessed Fradge on strike. The pair despatched the ball to all parts with Fradge being particularly harsh on anything short or wide.
With the precipitation duly arriving at 4 o'clock, Sam decided it was time to motor - he hit a four followed by a slog sweep over square leg for six and then walked past one and was stumped for 18. We were just past half way - 61 for 1, 58 needed for 20 points and the rain falling. As it started to get heavier Fradge and Sinth went for it! Tea had been agreed for 4.30 and with 20 minutes until tea we still needed 38 runs. Exmouth kindly bought on the youngsters and Nasty Uncle Fradge smashed them all over the Bicton estate!
At 23 minutes past 4, Sinth hit another boundary to see us home 1 down, 20 points in the bag and a superb 71 not out to the all conquering Adam Fradgley. We scored 121 for 1 in 15 overs - the entire match lasting only 37 overs.
As both sides enjoyed a leisurely tea the drizzle continued to fall. As the last of us left the ground at around 5.15pm the rain began to get heavier - who says you can't trust the weather forecast! The goal was to win and win quick! - hope our rivals in the league fell foul of the rain and we could extend our lead at the top. Our mission accomplished, the wait for the Sunday Independent to confirm the details. Success! Only one other game in the our league finished and we extended our lead from 2 points to 9 - Smug Mode!!
The next four weeks see the 3's take on our four nearest rivals - Axminster, Upottery, Kentisbeare and Feniton. If we can secure positive results in these four games we will almost have one foot in C Division.