Perfect start to cricket campaign

PUBLISHED: 10:02 05 May 2010 | UPDATED: 01:13 16 June 2010

Axminster made the perfect start to their B Division campaign with a maximum points haul at home to Barnstaple, writes Stephen Birley

Axminster made the perfect start to their B Division campaign with a maximum points haul at home to Barnstaple.

Skipper Paul Miler led by example with his side's top score of 56 and there were other excellent contributions from Michael Wakeley (54), Raul East (46) and Tristan Wakeley (44) in an imposing home total of 263-4. Alex Wraight then claimed 4-9, East completed a fine first game for the club with 4-25 and Robbie Prior took 2-34 as Barum were bundled out for 95, leaving the hosts winners by a whopping 168 runs.

Skipper Paul Miller said: "It was a very satisfying first game. One in which we played superbly in all areas. You cannot argue with a 20 point haul on the opening day. We'll make no bold statements about what we are going to do this season. Feet will be kept firmly on the ground, but our objective is to play hard in every game and, if that is sufficient to see us into a top two finish, then so be it." It's more North Devon opposition on match day two for Miller's men as they go to Bideford.

There was opening day frustration for Seaton who suffered an opening day dose of tail-end-Charlie trouble with visiting Bridestowe's last pair at the wicket when stumps were drawn. John Waterhouse, Steve Pritchard (24), Greg Foxwell (27) and an unbeaten 27 from Martin Bray saw Seaton to 179-8. Mike Cottam (3-39) and Ben Morgan (2-40) combined to see the North Devon side to 169 with their last pair at the crease, but that's the way it remained and so Seaton had to settle for a winning draw. Next up for Seaton is a trip to Kingsbridge on Saturday.

Feniton began life in D Division with a trip to Ashburton that was ended prematurely owing to bad light. When stumps were drawn the Acland Park men were a modest 106-4 with nine overs remaining after the home side had posted a total of 209-9.

Jonathan Pyle (3-54), Stuart Bright (3-23) and Kevin Brandom, on his debut (2-15), claimed wickets for the visitors, whilst Charlie Selley with 22, chipped in with the highest score in the return. Next week Feniton stage the first of this term's East Devon derby games with the visit of Ottery St Mary.

The Otters were denied any opening day action. They, and visitors, Halberton, had sat around and waited and even took an early tea to see if the weather would break. It didn't and they gave up in late afternoon.

Uplyme skipper Ashley Caddy certainly did his best to try and get his side an opening day win. First he struck 97 as Uplyme scored 239-8 against Tiverton. Steve Challis chipped in with 52. Caddy then claimed 3-27, but Tiverton's late order refused to buckle and the Mid Devon closed on 170-7. On Saturday Caddy and his side play their first home game of the new season against Ipplepen.

The E Division East Devon derby at Kilmington produced a real thriller with Whimple winning by just three runs.

Batting first, the visitors closed on 200 as Chris Palfrey (40), Trevor Griffin (30), Ben Silk (23) and Phil Hope (20), all chipped in. Hal Cooke with 3-30 and Ben Noble with 3-38, were the pick of the home bowlers. The run chase was led by that man Cooke, who completed a fine all-round first day's work with a top score of 48. Roland Stonex weighed in with 33, but the reply came up short by just three runs at 197-8. Matt Richards with 3-27 and skipper Jono Burden with 2-45, were the Whimple wicket takers of note. On Saturday, Kilmington head for a first ever meeting in Devon League cricket with ambitious Filleigh, whilst Whimple launch their home programme with a visit from Woodbury.

Upottery had laboured to 87-8 in very testing conditions at Babbacombe before the weather closed in and left the game abandoned. Dave Woolacott (23), Duncan Kennard (13) and skipper Stuart Drew (10) were the Upottery batsmen to survive out in the middle the longest! This weekend Upottery play their first home game with the visit of Kingskerswell.

In the F Division, just 10 overs were possible at Honiton, and all this after the sides had sat around until starting at 3.30pm. Exeter Civil Service were put into bat and were 24-1 after 10 overs when the heavens opened and washed out any hope of further play. Adam Holmes was the Honiton wicket taker. Honiton travel to Culmstock on Saturday.

Axminster 2nds were on the thick end of things in their B Division game at Braunton where the game was one of a number on a damp opening day to be clearly determined by the toss of the coin. Axminster were put in and promptly bundled out in 28 overs for just 56, a total passed by the home side in double quick time without loss of wickets.

Uplyme 2nds were another side to be brushed aside. They were beaten by visiting Cornwood Thirds, who put the home side in and bowled them out for 108 in 38 overs.

David Jones and Toby Newson both hit 15, one more than the total struck by David Norman and the visitors lost just three wickets in a successful run chase.

Ottery St Mary 2nds had a hero in the shape of Alex Tubbs, who was able to plunder 16 off the final over of the game at Barnstaple and take his side to a four wicket win.

Batting first, Barum had posted a reasonable total of 197, with Duncan Bradshaw-Smith picking up 2-30 for the Otters who were looking in charge with Barry Fricker at the wicket. However, when he pulled up with a calf strain and had to limp off with 66 to his name, the victory hopes began to fade. Skipper Gavin Iley did his bit to keep his side in it, but the final over arrived with the Otters needing 16 to win. That was not enough to deny Tubbs though. The all-rounder had earlier bagged a brace of wickets in the home innings and he smacked the ball to all parts in that final over to see the Otters to a win with two balls remaining. Upottery 2nds were well beaten by visiting Topsham St James despite a couple of excellent individual performances, one with the ball and two with the bat.

Mike Kellow rolled back the years to claim 3-49 from 13 very tidy overs as the visitors closed on an imposing 239-6. Then Mike Arscott hit a fluent 75 and Bruce Inglis chipped in with 25, but the visitors kept taking wickets and the final home wicket fell on 151 and Upottery were beaten by 88 runs.

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