Axminster claim thrilling - and vital - win at Abbotskerswell

PUBLISHED: 06:30 21 July 2015 | UPDATED: 09:26 27 July 2015

Archant

Axminster produced a collectively-gritty performance to claim a fifth victory over the B Division lead and can now see a clear route to a mid-table position in the table as a result of their seven run success at Abbotskerswell.

Axminster skipper Paul Miller won the toss and sent openers Dan Murnane and Bradley Cross out to start things rolling and the pair did him proud putting on 70 for the first wicket. A second wicket fell soon after, but then Matt Pyle and Gary Larcombe got together and added 94 for the third wicket. Larcombe ended with an unbeaten 62, Pyle was out for a splendid 51 and Bradley Cross had earlier weighed in with 38.

The home reply was hit by the loss of their overseas player to the very first delivery of the innings from Matt Pyle. Pyle then had the Abbots skip out to his fourth ball and the Axemen were in the driving seat. The hosts battled back and it reached a stage where, with five overs to go, Abbotskerswell wanted 30 to win and had four wickets in hand. Spinner Dave Field bagged a couple of wickets and all-rounder Pyle bagged himself another to leave the hosts needing 11 to win at the start of the final over which was to be bowled by Field. Two of the first three deliveries went for two leaving the Abbots needing seven off two balls. The penultimate delivery of the game was slammed to deep long on where Matt Pyle gathered it and threw it in to run out the last home batsman to see Axminster to a seven run success.

The Abbots closed 203 with Alex Wraight (3-42), Pyle (3-31) and Field (2-51) sharing the wicket taking duties.

A delighted Miller said: “It was a close, but really exciting game. We felt at tea, on what has, at first glance, looked a really good bating wicket, that 210 was barely par. That said, on a wicket that was two-paced and with uneven bounce we knew that if we bowled well we’d have a good chance. The two wickets in the first Matty Pyle over set things up nicely and sort of dictated the flow of the second half of the contest.”

As for the fact his team are out of the bottom two, Miller said: “There’s work still to be done, but the table makes better reading for our followers. We have back-to-back home games now and if we can repeat the performance we served up at Abbotskerswell then it will make the last four games a lot less stressful in terms of our ultimate target to end in a mid-table berth.”

On Saturday, Axminster host basement dwellers Braunton.

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