2nd XI vs Plymouthby Richard Nelsey
On a day that suggested plenty of rain showers and a match versus the defending 2nd XI Premier Champions another pivotal toss was called correctly by visiting skipper Nelsey and has no hesitation in deciding to have a bowl first in drizzly conditions.
However, Bennett (27) and Stephenson (30) made the most of a "4-ball" an over by Exeter's opening bowlers to push the total to 56 from the first twelve overs, a very un Exeter start. Steward trapped Bennett on the crease in front to get the first breakthrough. Plymouth Captain, Button (26), carried on the good start and pushed the score to 88 for 1 from 23 overs. At this point in time Exeter Captain was considering his options, including taking Williamson out of the attack at the end of his 6th over when Williamson made the Captain's mind up for him! He removed Stephenson, caught by Langford at gully, in the over before drinks, and then took one in his next three overs too, had an over off before picking up 5th an over later to leave Plymouth 104-6. Whilst Williamson was taking the wickets Legodi (0-43 from 14) had returned and bowled very tightly to build the pressure from the opposite end. Williamson then picked up a 6th and then a 7th for career best figures of 7-37 from 14 overs (straight) to turn the game in Exeter's favour. The return of Steward (1-33 from 11) and Pollard (0-35 from 9) kept things tight at the end of the innings but did not see anymore wickets fall so Plymouth finished on 157 for 8 from their 48 overs (each team lost 2 overs due to a 15 min rain break).
After tea, Langford and Williams, set about building a platform, for the longest batting line-up Exeter 2's have likely ever fielded, to chase down the total and take 19 points home with them. With early swing and movement from the Plymouth opening bowlers, the Exeter batters were watchful and punishing of anything short or over-pitched. Despite numerous bowling changes from Plymouth, Langford and Williams (who had a couple of lives, one at slip and one at mid-on) stayed true to their task, firstly passing the 50 partnership mark and then the 100. At this point Williams also moved past 50 leaving Exeter needing 54 from the last 15 overs. The game still hanged tightly in the balance as Plymouth tightened up their bowling and when Langford reached his own 50 but then fell to his next ball Exeter had been given an opening stand of 137 and just 21 needed from 6 overs. Pollard was sent up the order to end things quickly but was bowled by Button and then Legodi joined Williams to push Exeter over the line with 9 balls remaining.
"To come to Plymouth and return with 19 points was a great effort, particularly with the weather forecast as it was as I never expected a full game and the start they made with the bat!" said Exeter captain Nelsey.
"At 88 for 1 from 23 and two batsman set I was concerned about what we were going to have to chase but Matt really stepped up to the plate and was the one who today made the difference with the ball. I'm just glad I didn't take him off as I was going to! It's a shame that due to work commitments he can't play more as he has proved what a difference he can make (he took 5 for vs Plympton in his other outing). We were made to work really hard in the field but our fielding was great and we took all our catches so to chase 158 was a great job ... in the end!
"Sean and Rob gave us a great start and I was so pleased to see Sean spend some time at the crease after a few 'interesting' decisions against him so far this season as he can provide us the anchor innings to play around. Rob realyl showed his credentials that he has displayed the last two years whilst at Uni at Exeter and will be a loss for the summer.
"The next couple of weeks are always a challenging time at Exeter as a lot of our talented younger players still have school cricket, our own Uni students are not home yet, a couple of the teachers (Holman and Mead) are tied up still with school cricket and the Exeter Uni students head home for the summer. However, we have a better core of players than we have had for some years so if we can get through these next three games then we will be well set as a club to try and push on and win all three leagues this year."