2nd XI vs Tavistcokby Richard Nelsey
After reaching the halfway point of the season just three points behind leaders Sidmouth (despite being unbeaten AND beaten Sidmouth!), the 2nd XI have sat around the last two weeks and watched the rain fall and their games versus 3rd place Bovey Tracey and leaders Sidmouth be cancelled. However, with the forecast set fair, off they left for the 45 minute trip down the A30 to bottom of the table Tavistock.
Two and half hours later (thanks to an overturned caravan!) they eventually arrived at the Tavistock to see a very patient waiting opposition and Captain. A quick run out to the middle for the toss saw the coin come down correctly for Exeter Captain Richard Nelsey who decided to have a bowl on what looked like a slow, low wicket. A quick change, no warm up (after two weeks off), Exeter took to the field in quest of 20 points.
Jack Richardson and Drew Smith soon learnt that there was not a lot of life in the pitch and that anything lose would be punished by Tavistock opener Mark Webber (not the Australian F1 driver) and there was some definate rust apparant from the bowlers and fielders. Tavistock had reached 29 from the first six overs when Richardson had Webber caught behind by keeper Will Steward. The runs kept coming with a quick outfield down the hill towards the pavilion and it took a wicket by Smith in the 12th over and Richardson in the 13th, both to catches by Nelsey, to temporarily slow the home side at 45-3. However, Tavistock batters carried on with their positive approach and even the introduction of the usually misely Pete Hensor and Steve Milne did little to slow the rate. With the score having reached 70 from just the first 17 overs, the Exeter Captain was beginning to think that a large chase would be on the cards. However, a steady fall of wickets (two for Milne, one for Hensor and a run out) meant Tavistock reached the 100 but seven wickets down but their experienced Captain, John McGahey, was still hanging in their. A slightly quicker, flatter one by Milne and a great catch at slip by Sean Langford saw the end of McGahey innings for 41 and the innings was soon wrapped up for 126. Milne finished with figures of 4-26 from 8.3 overs and Richardson with 3-27 from 8 overs.
The finish caught the tea ladies a little by surprise (only 32 overs had gone!) so despite the time the Exeter team volunteered to go back out for 45 minutes before tea. This has been somewhat of a challenge for Exeter this year, never being able to get to tea in a solid position! However, Langford and U15 player Marcus Hoddinott, set about their task of respecting good balls, punishing bad balls and picking up the odd quick single very well and reached tea at 32-0 from 11 overs. After a great tea, they set about their task again and were at ease reaching the 100 partnership before Langford won the race to 50. Hoddinott followed with a superb straight drive down the ground to reach his first thoroughly deserved 2nd XI 50 showing what a great future he has ahead of him. It was not long until the total of 127 was reached, a second successive 10 wicket win and 20 points to take back up the A30.
"I'm pleased to come back with 20 points today" said Nelsey. "Despite their position in the league, we've had so little cricket and opportunity to practice that such a convincing is great. We were definitely slow out of the blocks today with the ball and in the field and it took a while to get in our stride. However, when we did there were few mistakes and few bad balls and the bowlers stuck to their tasks and made my job pretty easy.
"The run chase never looked like it troubled Sean or Marcus. Sean scores runs regularly at this level and really has found his form in his last four innings. Marcus just keep getting better and is always so keen to learn. I was really pleased for him to get his first 50 at this level and I know it will be the first of many ... depending on when he makes the move to 1st XI cricket!
"With Sidmouth only taking 18pts from their win against Plymouth we're now only one point behind with six games to go which is right where we want to be. Bovey are only 13 behind us so the game that see's those two play each other could be very interesting. However, there is never an easy game in this league but I know that if we are able to play to our potential over these next six weeks (and the weather plays no further part), we'll be there or there abouts".