Exeter 2nd XI vs Paignton

by Richard Nelsey

The 2nd XI travelled to Paignton on a day with rain showers forecast for 5pm and having lost the lead at the top of the table due to last week's game cancelled because of a waterlogged pitch. With quite a few players missing from the club this weekend it was a much changed team that made the trip with debuts for Aussie Drew Smith and Alex Reddick and veteran Pat Steward called upon to keep wicket.

Another successful call was made by Exeter Captain Richard Nelsey and Paignton skipper Tim Ward promptly announced "we'll have a bat then" which Nelsey duely confirmed would happen!! Debutant Drew Smith opened the bowling and Exeter soon sensed a break through despite the first over going for 10 as Paignton opener Selway was more a pinch hitter than an opener. This did happen when Smith bowled Selway in his third over. The next three balls went for two fours before Fitton was bowled by Smith. His third wicket was a plum LBW and Exeter were right on top at 38 for 4 when Nelsey held on to a catch at mid off which only he was the only fielder capable of reaching! Meanwhile Pete Hensor (1 for 19 from 11) was bowling a fantastic tight spell from the opposite end having conceded just 12 runs with one ball left in his 8th opener when he forced a nick on to the stumps from Mike Pedley. When Smith picked up his fifth wicket in the next over Paignton were 48 for 6 and Exeter were sensing a low run chase before the rain. The introduction of leg spinner Jake Reddick and reliable left arm spinner Steve Milne saw Milne strike with his first ball to leave Paignton at 64 for 7. However, the experience of captain Tim Ward and Talbot meant the score moved on to 122 before the introduction of part time seamer had Ward plumb in front. Another 20 were added and Nelsey called upon Smith to finish off, which he duly obliged to end with figures of 7 for 48 from 12.1 overs.

With the time at 3.25pm it meant that the Exeter openers had only ten minutes to turn around as they would need to go and bat before tea that would be taken at 4.30pm.

Rob Williams looked in good nick straight away, versus regular 1st team bowler Mike Pedley, timing the ball really nicely. It took a parry from the keeper to 1st slip, a juggle and eventually a catch to remove him for 19 with the score on 27. With some drizzle in the air Graham White joined Sean Langford at the crease and moved things comfortably on to 44 when tea was taken after 18 overs. This left Exeter the challenge of scoring 102, with 9 wickets left, from 40 overs ... however the time was now 4.50pm and the rain was coming!! White was extremely positive, taking Williams for 21 from two overs, including a big six on to the top of the Paignton pavilion but the enforced bowling change was his downful as he was trapped LBW for 31 from the first bowl from Stanley, with the score on 85. Nelsey came to the crease with the intention of being positive and getting Exeter over the line (especially as the rain had cost them a win when just 16 runs short vs Exmouth). Two fours came from his first five balls to show Paignton what the intention was. Langford joined in to with the positive extent and they soon added 50 from just 7 overs to take Exeter within 11 of victory. With the drizzle getting slightly harder and the sky getting darker, Langford was bowled by Pedley for 43 and then in the very next over Nelsey was bowled, with an unexpected full toss, for 29. Alex Reddick unfortunately fell first ball but Fradgley and Smith soon saw Exeter over the line to finish on 149 for 5.

Within ten minutes the rain had set in and it was a good job that the game had already ended with 20 overs remaining! All that remained was to hear Sidmouth's result versus lowly Tavistock. Unfortunately the news was that it was 20 points without a ball being bowled as Tavistock were unable to field a team!!

"We lost last weeks game and have not had a training session in a couple of weeks so to come away from today with 19 points was a great effort" said skipper Nelsey.

"The other thing that we had to contend with today was availability. On the bowling front, as a club, we had no Mead, Pollard, Legodi, Steward, Williamson or Green and I did feel that I was potentially a bowler light going in to today's game but Drew was fantastic and showed if I hadn't needed some batting help in the games so far he easily can perform at this level. Pete really found his line and length today and showed the form of a couple of years ago. I thought that they maybe got 40 too many after being 64 for 7 but Tim used his experience to put a total on the board.

"As a batting unit it really impressed me how we didn't worry about the rain and made sure we had a platform to chase the runs downs, whether the rain was coming or not. It was good to see Graham back in form, along with Sean in the runs, as they are both key performers in our top order if we're to catch and pass Sidmouth.

"Holman and Mead are now available all summer for the 1st XI and the school games are finishing so I'm hopeful we can keep up the pressure on Sidmouth but we've got a huge weekend next week in the club with the 1st XI playing 2nd place Cornwood, we've got Cornwood 2's who are lying 4th and a difficult team to beat and the 3rd XI are playing 2nd placed Feniton."

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