Cave and Groves lead Honiton II to victory

PUBLISHED: 11:04 15 June 2011

Andrew Lapping reports on another fine day for his Honiton II side.

The Hatter’s excursion over the hills to Axminster filled the team with a modicum of trepidation following tales of collapsed drains under the Axminster playing surface. Tales, it transpired, that had been grossly exaggerated, the pitch playing blamelessly in the ensuing afternoon’s action.

Having called correctly at the toss, the clichéd course of action would have been to bat first and rack up a decent target. Captain Lapping, however, is nothing if not a man to whom clichés are like a red rag to a bull. Thus it was that he invited the home side to take first turn on a greenish looking track.

The Axminster openers immediately found it slow going against the back-of-a-length nastiness of Brinsford and the full-of-a-length swing of Alcock. The forward grope featured prominently among the main shots on display, but both batsmen concentrated to good effect, riding out the first 23 overs to reach 68 for no loss.

Schmidt and Hill took up the attack just in time for the arrival of a spell of persistent drizzle which turned the ball from a hard, leather and cork based projectile into an unctuous slippery object of bath-time merriment as the quarter seams began to pout like Marilyn Monroe on a particularly pouty photo shoot. Schmidt in particular found gripping the ball marginally less straightforward than chasing an eel round a paddling pool as the batters gleefully seized on anything wayward.

Isles finally top edged a loopy catch to Kelly at square leg to present Honiton with their first success of the day at 75-1. The ambitious Wynn, having opened up on reaching a solid half century, sliced Hill to deep point where the safe-as-houses Groves clung on to make it 101-2.

Kelly found one deceptive, full, bouncy and straight enough to produce the death rattle for Squire and Hill, bowling round the wicket, following the encouragement of his skipper, pushed a lifter across the bows of Lamb who edged to slip where the ball plopped into the waiting mitts of Brinsford to make it 104-4.

Alcock and Brinsford returned in the latter stages of the innings, finally meeting with success as Alcock professionally “took care of” (in the Al Pacino sense) Barfoot and Schmidt snaffled Bicknell off Brinsford for 26.

Swain finally perished for 22 trying to play the “lawnmower” once too often as Hill spotted him mamboing around the park and fired the delivery to Cave who expertly whipped off the necessaries. A few late flurries elevated the Axminster score to a fourth batting point where they closed on a demanding 175-7.

Following tea, Beighton and Groves led the reply in improving conditions. However, Beighton, no doubt fretting over the absence of the charms of his regular opening partner, uncharacteristically drove the fifth ball of the innings straight to cover point. Suddenly 175 seemed a long way away, with the not-exactly-in-great-form Cave at the crease.

Following a sketchy introduction, Cave was soon gorging himself on anything loose and, in the company of the unflappable Groves, getting the scorers’ pencils warmed up. The Cave bat connected extravagantly with a series of lofted straight drives while Groves’s leg work and educated edge pushed the Honiton total past three figures in the 16th over.

Cave’s punishing innings of 71 (12 fours, one six) was brought to a surprise end by Bicknell, having assisted in adding 138 for the second wicket. That triggered the afternoon’s obligatory collapse. Groves reached a fine 50, but Potter (2) failed to spot a straight one, Lapping (0) carved to point and Rorstad (6), eyeing up the long on boundary, was left to wonder about the sound of cricket ball on corrugated iron roof/decorator’s van for at least another week.

At 164-5, Honiton were still entirely capable of turning victory into disaster, but Brinsford entertained no such negative thoughts as he joined Groves. Bolstered by the comforting knowledge that the remainder of the order was choc-full of proven finishers, the pair were able to lead the charge for glory, Brinsford ending on a no nonsense 11 and Groves on a supreme Beighton-esque 68 (12 fours).

Honiton took 18 points for the 5 wicket win and now have to endure a week off from league action before their next game.

Honiton Skipper Lapping was pleased with the win “ The important thing for us was to pick up the win with us having no game next week, we had a few out today and they will be back for the Whimple game in 2 weeks and we will have to be at our best for that, Axminster put up a good fight and they will improve in the coming weeks, this wasn’t as easy a game as some may of thought we were going to have, given Ax’s start to the season, so we can’t take anyone lightly and need to focus on one game at a time.”

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