After the heat and pleasant summer conditions of last week, it was back to an English summer as the 3's traveled to Barnstaple & Pilton on a cold, very windy, rain in the air Saturday. Indeed as we arrived we were greeted by a heavy shower and the toss felt like it could be all important after Friday night's rain on an uncovered wicket.
Sam Reddick was in charge as the 'Old Man' returned to Umpiring duties, and thankfully Reddick junior called right! "You can Bat!" was the polite invitation, and the 3's set about consolidating their position at second in the league.
Noah Tobias was again bowling well, and he was joined by Under 15 man mountain Dom Gaywood from the pavilion end. The pitch was playing well, no demons, not as wet as we thought it might be and not much happening - apart from Shaun Cole and James Roe getting B & P off to a good start.
88 without loss after 20 overs and the planned early finish looked a long way off! Sam turned to little brother Jake to try and bowl some leg spin in the strong cross wind. Bowling to the short boundary, Jake drifted the ball into the right handers whilst extracting sharp turn away. He struck in his second over, having Cole caught at Mid On by Will Street for 36. Naj had a go from the other end without success, and 5 bowling points was still a long way off.
Jake was in a great rhythm and opener Roe decided not to take any chances against Jake, who had also removed number 3 Rob Holm for 6. Sam kept Jake going for 9 straight, finishing with 2 for 23, including a couple of maidens.
9 overs to go and still 8 wickets required. 157 for 2 looked good for B & P, but Streety removed Fewins for 15, and then Chris Thackray saw off James Roe for 87 - both caught at short third man by Jake.
It was obvious that Barnstaple didn't have a lot of depth, and Naj came back on to claim 3 late wickets to return 3 for 49 from his 8. B & P finished on 198 for 8, Naj claiming the fourth bowling point from the last ball of the innings, caught behind by our 6th wicket keeper of the season - John Hurrell!
The usual fine fare awaited us at tea, and with Rory mountain trekking somewhere, our batting line up had a more familiar look to it. Naj opened again with John H, but was bowled second ball by Bobby Pedlar who was making the most of the windy conditions, getting the ball to really swing in to the right handers.
Joel, back at his customary number 3, joined John and the pair batted well as the wicket had dried out and was turning into a good batting track. They had added 77 in 18 overs when Joel was caught for 38 from the accurate bowling of Ollie Rigler. Skipper Sam Reddick strode out looking to build on a couple of useful mid week knocks which hinted at a long overdue return to form.
He and John took no chances, took what was on offer and headed towards that 199 needed for victory. If we lost no more wickets we could still claim 19 points. As the change bowlers came and went, John and Sam progressed at a good pace and always had the run chase under control. with 15 overs to go we needed 80 runs, and with bowling options diminishing, Sam and John pushed on. Sam launched a couple of sixes over long on, slog swept into the wind, which went nowhere near the lengthy boundary, and John punched and drove hard through the gaps for more fours.
In the 40th over, with the two needed to win, Ollie Rigler bowled a ball that went for 5 wides and the job was done. Yet another valuable innings from John (71 not out), and a confidence boosting 62 not out from Sam. 8 wicket win, 19 points bagged - 18 points behind top place and 21 points clear of third place. Honiton at Home next week - lets hope it's dry!!