After a mixed early July, with two games postponed because of Covid-19 and a tough loss away at Plympton, Abbots 1sts were eagerly awaiting a chance for revenge against a very strong North Devon CC at The Oak.
Nick Watkin won the toss and decided to put North Devon in to bat, figuring that the Abbots bowlers could take wickets on a track that looked like it would do a bit early.
A steady start by the North Devon openers meant that they reached 61-0 after 11 overs, with the bowlers struggling to find the right lines and lengths to put pressure on the batsmen early.
Jay Hussain struck in the 12th over, after a week in the 2nds to make it 61-1. Alex Birt struck next in the 17th over to add to the pressure the batsmen were under and leave North Devon 84-2.
North Devon moved the score steadily on to 106 before some tidy glove-work by Chris Sleep dislodged the next batsman off Jay Hussain’s bowling; 106-3. 6 balls later, Birty claimed his second wicket bowling the North Devon No.5 without scoring. North Devon were now 109-4 at the half-way point of the innings.
What followed next was an example of great teamwork by the Abbots boys, with bowlers and fielders all contributing.
The North Devon opener and top scorer was brilliantly run-out by Chathura Peiris 9 balls after the last wicket and North Devon were at 114-5
The very next Jay Hussain over brought another 2 wickets in 2 balls, with no addition to the score, bowling one and Sleepy catching the other behind the stumps. 114-7
Mark Gilmour took his first of the day in the next over with one run added: 115-8
Chathura Peiris got in on the action 2 balls later, with another caught behind by Sleepy 115-9, and Gilly cleaned up the last wicket for the addition of 3 runs closing the North Devon innings on 118-10.
Abbots managed to take the last 6 North Devon wickets for just 9 runs! This left Abbots with a reasonable run chase, but nobody was under any illusions that the wicket was doing plenty and that they’d have to bat sensibly against an excellent North Devon attack.
Jay Hussain proved the man with ball in hand finishing with figures of 10-1-39-4, with Birty and Gilly taking 2 each.
It started badly for Abbots with Ed Smout-Cooper and Nick Watkin falling early to leave Abbots in early trouble on 9-2.
Chat’s and Sam Carpenter steadied the ship, and just as it looked like they were going to push on, Carps was out with Abbots now 25-3.
Gilly and Chat’s batted sensibly putting the bad balls away until Gilly succumbed to an absolute seed caught behind for 20 and Abbots on 64-4.
Jarms was dismissed soon after as was Chats who mis-timed a drive to midwicket. Chris Sleep followed without scoring leaving Abbots reeling on 73-7; Alex Birt and Kyle Rich at the crease.
Birty and Kelly both batted with huge concentration, defending determinedly, and putting away the occasional bad ball and made steady progress towards the target, coming together at 73-7 after 23 overs.
With the target getting ever-closer, but overs and wickets running out, we were set for a very tense end to the game. In the 40th over, Birty put the last bad ball away for 4, bringing the total to 119-7 off 39.3 overs and the well deserved win for Abbots.
Birty finished 20* and Kyle 21* after a great rear-guard innings. Chat’s top scored with 23.
An excellent effort with bat and ball, and good preparation for the trip to Bradninch next week. Well done lads!
Abbots 2nds made the trip to Kingsbridge with a lot of young talent and a few older-heads to take on the team with the most match points in the division. After heavy rain in the morning, the pitch and outfield recovered well and the game started on time, Kingsbridge winning the toss and asking Abbots to bat.
Skipper Charlie Hill and Shannon ‘Champ’ Cox got the innings under way slowly and steadily until Chilly fell for 21 to a brute of a ball with the total on 32.
Tom Heath in next hit a 6 and a 4 before falling for 10, leaving Abbots in trouble on 49-2.
Champ went next, run-out with an excellent piece of defensive fielding, for 14, and Abbots were on the rack at 50-3.
Kingsbridge had brought on their excellent leg-spinner and the young lads were all bamboozled by his variations and it turned in to a bit of a precession. The next 7 wickets fell for 14 runs and Abbots were all out for 64. The leggie finished with figures of 5.5-0-9-5!
Kingsbridge fancied the early finish but Leroy Lane (3-0-10-1) and Chris Meikle (2.2-0-7-1) managed to get Abbots a bowling point at least.
Of course, being hammered is never great, but at least most of the lads made it back to Abbots in time to watch the drama unfold against North Devon!
Time to re-group and go again at home to Barton next week.