Topsham St James 2nds suffer disappointment against Exwick
PUBLISHED: 09:03 25 July 2018
Mike Tracey stepped out from the score box to play probably the only match of his 65th consecutive year of competitive cricket, but it was not a happy experience as he contributed little to a largely poor display of batting that cost promotion-chasing Topsham St James a five wicket defeat by previously win-less Exwick.
Put in to bat, Topsham badly missed the steadying influence of the holidaying Adrian Ferraro, and far too many of the home batsmen swung at the ball in cavalier fashion and paid the price. Honourable exceptions were Neil Shillabeer (21) and the two youngsters, Alex Collins and Rahul Antony, who both displayed a maturity beyond their years and ended up with 18 apiece, in Rahul’s case not out. Top scorer was Will Purchall, whose batting style owes nothing to the MCC coaching manual, but was more effective on the day than anybody else’s.
The Exwick bowlers could scarcely believe their luck. Rudi Ellis was, as he usually is, the pick of the bunch, with a masterly display of controlled attack which brought him two well-deserved wickets for only 15 runs in his eight overs. Adam Harding will never get an easier four-wicket haul, even if it did cost him 45 runs. At the end, Nick Rowe and veteran Rehann Caryl weighed in with two apiece, to leave the Topsham innings in tatters at 132 all out.
When Topsham bowled it was a different story. Jack Purchall and Rahul Antony both produced superb opening spells, and all six bowlers used were very much on the ball. Exwick again relied heavily on Ellis, who batted through most of their innings for an excellent 56. He was well supported by opening partner Mark Priddle, who scored 25, both of them batting very sensibly and taking full advantage of the time available to them. Apart from them, the Exwick batting revealed its frailties, but by then it was too late for Topsham, and the visitors ended with a comfortable win.
Ironically, Purchall and Antony both went wicket-less. Neil Shillabeer took 1-21 in seven good overs, but it was two more youngsters who took a couple each. Maddy Ross, bowling medium pace instead of her usual leg-breaks, took an impressive 2-1, while Tom Russell atoned for a slightly unlucky batting display with 2-12 from his off-breaks. Behind the stumps Alex Collins again looked the part, despite battling the effects of only four hours sleep in the previous 48, legacy of a school trip to France.
All-in-all, a day Topsham St James 2nds will want to forget, but full marks to Exwick for seizing their opportunity.