Tipton’s annual visit to Stokeinteignhead is always a fixture the players look forward to with their fine pitch on the hill overlooking the River Teign with views to Haytor Rocks and Dartmoor beyond, writes Phil Hughes.
It is just a pity we always have players who cannot find the ground!
Despite having visited the ground many times before, Phil Wright failed as navigator to brother Nick and having missed the turning had to encounter narrow lanes and horses.
Lev Konar could be forgiven getting lost although he did blame it on a dodgy Sat Nav code, and he only missed the first over!
Home skipper Roger Putman elected to bat first in a game reduced to 35 overs, for reasons I was not made aware of.
It was an afternoon when the weather failed to follow logic as a westerly breeze being kept warm by the spring sunshine was being met by a few threatening clouds heading in the opposite direction.
Tom Wills was the dominant partner as he opened with Anton Slipchenko which is probably a nice way to say the latter was rather pedestrian as having scored a two off his second ball, he failed to trouble the scorer or operator of the electronic scoreboard with the next 22 balls faced!
This may of course, be due to the accuracy of Tipton opening bowlers, David’s Birch and Alford, for, once Alford had conceded two boundaries in his first over to Wills, only three runs came in the next five overs.
It was Alford who made the breakthrough bowling Wills in the eighth over for 15. (This probably should have been 13 as byes were not signalled by one of Tipton’s rotating umpires, a ball that keeper Dave Thayre was surprised was not given as wides!).
However, allowances must be given considering their ages which totalled in excess of 166 – (and Pete Philbrick, it wasn’t you) – Dave Alford had slipped in the outfield whilst fielding and pulled some part of his anatomy, so came off after bowling five overs (1-19) and was replaced by John Buckland.
After excelling himself at Newton Poppleford seven days before, it was John’s turn to be somewhat wayward, conceding seven runs to Alex Heyward in his first over. After bowling seven overs costing just nine runs, David Birch was replaced by Amelia Tolley.
She deceived the stubborn Slipchenko with a ball that may well have bounced twice and the batsman chipped the ball to John Buckland fielding at silly mid on to end his 44 ball innings on five.
There followed a productive partnership as Harry Everett joined Heywood and by the 20th over the score had reached 86-2 with a challenging target looking ominous.
However, two Tipton players had other ideas, Mess’rs Channon and Thayre. Phil Wright had replaced Buckland, and in his second over, Everett had the audacity to reverse seep a ball which went fine past keeper Thayre, who discarded his gloves and set off in pursuit.
He was able to retrieve the ball and run out an ambling batsman coming back for a 2nd run with a throw from all of 30 yards. Everett had scored 31 off just 24 balls. Thayre was involved again in the next wicket when he effected a sharp stumping off Channon to end Alex Heywoods fine innings of 44 off an undeterminable number of balls. This was due to the folly of the home scorer who was using coloured pens which did not react well to water, and, as a few drops of rain were falling, his handiwork had turned into splodges.
This brought in their guest player Malcolm Buckland (as they only had nine) a member of Tipton’s entourage who is normally found watching son John and assisting with umpiring duties.
In his younger day’s Buckland the elder, was a fine batsman with an eye to score off slow bowlers. From this umpiring position, he has watched Wright bowl this season and let it be known before he went to the wicket he hoped to attack Wright’s bowling.
He got off the mark with a single off new bowler Mark Channon and faced Wright in the next over. He was fortunate to survive the first ball which struck his pads as Wright (unaware of this conspiracy) felt it would be rather unfair to dismiss him in this way, after all, he was a school friend 54 years earlier!
Both umpire and non-striker were somewhat bemused by the lack of an appeal. The next ball however, pitched outside off stump and hit leg giving Buckland short reprieve.
There was much merriment when Wright explained the ball had turned as he was a ‘spinner’. The laughter was not dissimilar to that produced by the Cadbury’s Smash Martians when it was explained that people peel and boil potatoes in a pan for 20 minutes to make mashed potato.
From 92-2 Stokeinteignhead had slipped to 103-5 and things did not improve for them as Channon was on fire! He bowled Paul Hayes (5) Joshimom (8) and Chris Mercer (0) in fairly quick succession with only Roger Putman offering much resistance.
He became the final victim of the Channon/Thayre double act as he feathered a catch to the keeper and departed for 15. The final six wickets fell for 29 as Stokinteignhead were all out for 132. Until then, there was a concern (especially from Mr Tolley) that they might set a useful , but this was thwarted by good keeping and excellent bowling by Channon who returned figures of 5-21 off 7.2 overs, which should have been 4-21 as he sneaked in two illegal balls having finished his allotment!
Tipton showed a great improvement in their fielding compared to previous weeks, so I won’t mention the chance offered to David Birch at mid-on who watched the ball fall from a great height and let it land unmolested at his feet.
The match was then spoiled as a contest by Tipton openers Phil Tolley and David Thayre who both made chanceless half centuries. The only controversy was a certain Mr Thayre remonstrating with the scorer as he had missed one of his runs. That is normally the job of Mr Tolley!
In the final tally the scorer missed one boundary compared to those conceded by bowlers, so both gained two runs. In his defence, the scorer said he was a long way from the action and there was a lot of tittle tattle being said all around him.
Both batsman reached their half centuries just before the target of 133 was reached; Tolley off 59 balls and Thayre off 77.
So John Buckland and Nick Wright spent 34 overs padded up with nowhere to go as Tipton won with over 11 overs to spare.