Lapping leads Honiton II to promotion
Honiton Cricket Club celebrated double delight on the final day of the 2012 Francis Clark Devon Cricket League season with both side’s promoted out of their respective Division’s. Here’s the dramatic final game for the 2nd XI through the eyes of skipper Andrew Lapping.
Right then, here’s the deal. Honiton take a dozen or more points from their final game, at home to Exmouth III and they are crowned D Division East 2nd XI champions!
However, make a mess of the final game and, with second placed North Devon a nailed on certainty to win against lowly Countess Wear it’s just another “nearly” season. The equation was mathematically very simple!
Honiton were asked to bat first and, with their fifth different opening pair of the season, Beighton and Rampaul, failed to get the good start they craved when Rampaul was caught for two with the score on nine.
Pulman played watchfully, but unusually it was Beighton who made the early running against some testing, but, erratic pace bowling. Pulman, dropped at point early on, was surprised by one of Jessop’s few deliveries not to be hurtling down the leg side or coming full pitch at head height and was on his way for seven.
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Strawbridge fed off anything short, like a carrion crow feasting on road-kill, spanking the ball through mid wicket in between surviving his traditional inordinate number of dropped catches. Beighton realised that there was no shame in tedious, mind numbing defence as Strawbridge went for 26 to make it 63-3.
Skipper Andrew Lapping got off the mark with a straight six, followed, uncommonly, by a second boundary hit all along the floor and wrecking Northover’s figures in the process.
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Beighton’s calling gradually developed a Ravi Bopara-esque randomness as several instances of back-pedalling and near misses unfolded in front of the packed house who were finally able to cheer the great man’s half century.
Lapping went for a 34 ball 18, to bring in cousin Craig who looked assured from the off and the fifth wicket pair proceeded to the highest partnership of the innings as they added 55. Lapping, having hit several high pedigree drives in his 22, was probably less surprised than the bowler to find his stumps disturbed by Bolt’s straight delivery and Brinsford (0) failed to control an ugly carve at his fourth ball.
Kelly (4) found the fence but was unable to progress matters further as Honiton desperately tried to maximise their batting points at 165-7.
Wright perished leg before for a golden duck, but Alcock managed to keep Beighton company for four overs, the pair putting on 22 for the 9th wicket. Alcock was finally unable to keep out Lee’s bouncy dobbers, going for 13 and Beighton did his best to run out the number 11. Not that he need have bothered as eighth top scorer Hill (2), played forward, then back, but nowhere near to Bolt’s off break to leave Beighton unbeaten on an admirably unfashionable 66.
190 all out looked a fair enough total, but with 48 overs available to the visitors any sort of a draw was likely to be ruled out.
Brinsford struck with the last ball of his first over, bowling Lee for three and Wright attacked up the slope as the batters tried to play themselves in.
Wright, having got several to scuttle, finally got his rewards in his fourth and fifth overs, cleaning up Jessop for a strange seven over blob and Robinson for a brief two to put Honiton in the box seat at 36-3.
Then it all went quiet on the wickets front. Wright was unable to complete his spell with a recurrence of a back spasm and while Alcock kept things under control, Exmouth ticked along to 71, perhaps just getting their noses in front, before Lapping’s full length ball dispatched Sampson.
Nothover then joined Dawe and together the pair set about making serious inroads into the target.
While the Honiton ground fielding was generally demonic, several tricky, but not impossible chances went to hand, just failing to be accepted or dropping beyond reach of the eager fieldsmen. Most spectacular of all was “Windy” Kelly’s horizontal effort at cover point, but the batsmen survived.
Kelly’s pie stall opened for business and Hill throttled the life out of Northover before cutting one in to have him stone cold LBW for 28.
Danger man Dawe pushed on past his 50 and Exmouth, needing four an over at 150-5 looked in charge. Honiton, however, knew that one more wicket could open the floodgates and with the light rapidly fading, Brinsford returned to see if the Exmouth bunnies had been eating enough carrots.
It turned out they hadn’t as Bolt edged behind where Strawbridge completed the catch and the number eight found Umpire Connett’s index digit raised as he was judged adjacent.
Dawe reached 100, but Lapping immediately made the all important breakthrough as the centurion dollied one up to mid off where Beighton opted for the “wedged ball under chin” catching technique. Exmouth 170-8, needing 21 from five overs. Anything could happen. What did happen in fact was that Lapping bowled Lee with a devastating slow long-hop and Brinsford picked off Tyson with an appeal for, as far as anyone could see in the gloom, leg before as he came down late. That was good enough for Umpire Connett who’s finger was duly raised to anoint Honiton as 14 run winners and champions of D division.
So there you have it, just 14 runs between season-defining success and failure. What’s more a glance at the extras showed Exmouth sent down 17, to Honiton’s 3!
Honiton Skipper Lapping was in great spirits and proud of his sides efforts over the season , saying: “ Things we’re a bit touch and go at one stage but as we have shown on more than one occasion this season we dig deep when it matters and produce a result. All the lads can take a lot of credit for the hard work that they have put in this year and totally deserve this and I’d like to thank them all whether they have played one or all the games everyone has played their part at some point. This has been a great season for the club with the 1st team getting promoted also and makes it four promotion across three seasons between the both sides and we have a really good balance of players at the club and this has to be the best group of players the club has had in the sixteen years I have played here.”