As the 3rd's looked to carry on where they had left off the week before, they arrived at a very cold and blustery Bicton to be greeted by a green wicket, very damp from the downpour the night before. The toss looked all important, and so it proved to be with Thorverton skipper Jock Spry calling it right and inserting the hosts.
Batting was not going to be easy, and with the experienced left arm over of James Meredith (9-2-18-1) hitting the mark form ball one at the pavilion end, so it proved to be. Stuart Tait opened from the car park end, and he was more generous, but in the wet conditions it wasn't easy to get the ball away. Meredith kept plugging away, getting the ball to pop quite dramatically from a full length, and it was only a matter of time before John Hurrell returned a catch to the bowler - 21 for 1. Naj Choudhary battled hard at the other end, but the sticky conditions didn't help Naj's usual fluid stroke play. He worked hard to reach 28, before Jock Spry (9-2-41-4) winkled him out with the score on 40.
It was becoming apparent that anything around 200 was going to be a good score, but could we get there? Joel Heatley came in at three and played cautiously, as was needed in the situation. He struggled to find a partner to stay with him as Sam Reddick, Alex Reddick and Briian Bosomworth all came and went cheaply.
At 93 for 5, 200 was looking a tall order. The scoring rate was slow and the pitch wasn't getting any easier to bat on. Joel was still fighting hard, and he looked to have found a willing partner in debutante Chris Thackray. Chris set about despatching Thorverton's change bowlers to various parts of the Bicton College Estate, and it appeared that 200 might be achievable. Joel's vigil came to an end for a very stubborn 46, and Chris carried on chancing his arm until his luck ran out when on a rapid 38 (including 4 sixes). He was stumped having a go at one that kept a bit low, and at 149 for 7 it was going to be down to the youngsters to push the score on as best they could.
Jake Reddick (11) and Will Street (17no) played some aggressive shots, Jake hitting a straight six in a partnership of 26 with Will, and with James Vanstone being run out for 0 from the last ball, our inninngs closed on 176 for 9.
There was still some life in the pitch to encourage our bowlers, and we would have to perform well to get through an accomplished Thorverton line-up. The re-configured changing and eating arrangements at Bicton looked to have confused Exeter as we seemed not to have come out after tea!
Despite the early break through by Boz - bowling Matt Milward for 0 with the score on 5, we were struggling to bowl in the right areas. The dangerous Alan Tait was now at the crease, and unfortunately we managed to drop him three times before he reached double figures. Luck was also on his side when he bottom edged one back onto his stumps and the bails weren't dislodged.
As Tait threw the bat at everything, 4's and 6's rained down on us. We carried on dropping catches and John Farley (54no) and Alan Tait rode their luck to put on a match winning partnership of 152 before Tait (90) was finally caught off of Naj's bowling by captain Reddick at Long Off.
Naj bowled well to achieve the only maiden over in a spell of 1 for 16 before we ran out of runs to bowl at, and Thorverton got home by 8 wickets with 15 overs to spare. Without doubt our worst performance in over 2 years, but the positive was that everyone was encouraging each other and trying their best. It was unfortunately 'one of those days' when we just didn't get going - a bad toss to lose on a cold and windy day. I think we at Exeter like 20 degrees + and sunshine!!
The 3's will look to resume normal service at Bicton this Saturday (18th) when they entertain Yelverton ll Xl who will again represent a tough challenge to our desire to be pushing for promotion - more jumpers may be required!!