On what was the warmest and sunniest Saturday of the season so far, The 3rd Xl welcomed Bideford to Bicton in what was a top four clash. Once again we had a very strong batting line up and on a hot day there might be a chance to look for 280 after 40 overs and declare.
First part of the plan went well as Reddick (senior) actually won a toss! In form John Hurrell and ever steady Naj took to to the middle to get us off to a solid start.
Bideford opened the bowling with the impressive Alex Hannam (Devon Under 14) and Richard Hall. Both gave little away and progress was steady, but not exceptional. With 29 on the board in the 8th over, Naj was caught for 18, miss timing a drive. This saw debutante Rory Millar join John and the two carried on in a cautious manor, building steadily without risk.
At the halfway stage we were 90 for 1, 280 looked a long way off, and we would need somewhere in that region given the number of times Bideford had already scored 250+ this season. John and Rors had put on 104 when John, looking to force the rate, was bowled for 56, yet another 50 for John.
Rory was joined by Chris (the Twack) Thackray, but the mission to up the rate didn't work and he was soon back in the hutch for 6. Time for Mr Reliable, Joel (The Heat) Heatley to join Rory. At 149 for 3 with 14 overs left it was time to press the "GO" button.
Having done a passable impression of Geoffrey Boycott for a number of overs, Rory decided to hit the gas and as Bideford rotated there change bowlers, Rory plucked the ripe fruit that was long hops, half volleys, legside and width deliveries.
Some superb hitting from Rory, ably supported by Joel, saw the pair put on 127 before Rory was bowled with two balls of the innings left by young Alex Hannam - a wicket that he thoroughly deserved. Rory's fine effort of 119 included 11 fours and 4 sixes and, unbelievably, came from 119 balls in 119 minutes!
Sam manged 6 from the last two balls and we ended up where the skipper wanted to be, just took a little longer - 281 for 4, with 100 runs coming in the last 10 overs.
Having stuffed our faces at tea, it was now time to go for 20 points. Noah Tobias was back after a bad bout of Hayfever the week before and he was supported at the other end by Chris. To their credit, Bideford's openers, Captain John Weeks and Matt Shepherd, went for it from ball one. The pair set off like an out of control train, scoring at nine an over until Shepherd (31) holed out in the covers, caught by John Hurrell. Weeks kept up the onslaught but followed soon after for 25 - 58 for 2 and a slight feeling of relief.
Both wickets had been claimed by Noah, bowling in good areas and good pace. He then managed to claim 3 wickets in 4 balls to put us right on top, one a superb diving catch by Joel in the gully. Having ripped the heart out of the Bideford batting in only a couple of overs, we thought we had the game in the bag.
Bideford's Fergie Bradbeer and Rich Hall had other ideas as the pair exploited the attacking field, going over the top for boundaries, as well as a few fortunate edges for 4. No need to panic though, Noah's burst had really slowed things down for a while, and although the target was only 7 an over, they didn't have too many wickets left.
Reddick senior worked his way through the bowling options, Joel claimed a couple, Naj chipped in with one and Streety bowled some tidy lines to have Rich Hall given out LBW for 44 (Finally!!).
With Bradbeer out for 48, and the score at 194 for 9, we had nine overs left to claim the final wicket and 20 points. Young Alex Hannam showed he wasn't a one trick pony by batting with great discipline and a fine array of shots as he finished on 37 not out, supported by the experienced Dave Staddon (11 not out) and Bideford finished on 245 for 9.
A very good game of cricket played in a great spirit, a tough test awaits us back at Westward Ho!, and definitely the best side we have played so far. 19 points was a good return, second in the league and promotion very much in our sights.
Barnstaple & Pilton away next week, more of the same required!