Tipton St John earned their first win over Dunsford, beating them by 39 runs, writes Phil Wright.
‘Climate change’ enters the vocabulary of a Tipton St John match report for the first time as three washed out Sunday’s on the trot as replaced by possibly the hottest conditions the team has played under!
In delightful settings, but trapped under a blazing sun, the River Teign was unseen below the trees, but its babbling was constantly calling for the players to come and rest in its cool waters… and some did.
Captain Dave Alford won the toss and realising the danger of being thrown into the river if he decided otherwise, batted first!
Dave Thayre and Matt Brewster opened the batting and faced the first of a dynasty of the Fitzherbert family in the form of captain Brian. He scored a boundary off the other opening bowler, Will Bentley, but the first ball of the third over was to be his last – for he was horrified to see the raised finger of the umpire when a ball struck his pad. He felt the ball had had struck him outside the off stump – but out he was given – and the score book duly recorded that he was leg before wicket to B Fitzherbert.
Dave Jessop replaced him and the pair put on the best partnership of the day, adding 80 in just 45 minutes. Admittedly, they were aided by some generosity from the Dunsford bowlers, Will Bentley in particular had trouble with his direction, his second over including no fewer than five wides, one of which made it to the boundary and added another in his last over plus a ‘no-ball’ which also galloped to the boundary!
Brewster was able to watch the majesty of Jessop in action as runs flowed from his bat in an elegant fashion. Bentley gave way to George Perry after conceding 34 off 3 overs, but 14 flowed like the river from his first over. Even Brian Fitzherbert saw a wide sail for five which dented his figures of 1-22 off six overs.
It was the introduction of the next Fitzherbert, Lucy who broke the partnership in the 13th over. She possessed a loping delivery that seemed to pitch in the right place, not dissimilar to our own Amelia Tolley, and it was her fifth ball which tempted Jessop into a lazy push into the covers and was easily caught by Ben Fitzherbert. Jessop’s 33 came off 31 balls and his knock included six boundaries.
With Jessop having departed, it was Brewster who then took control with Alford content to provide support, adding just 3 runs in his first 24 balls. At the mid innings point, Tipton were healthily placed on 117-2.
Ben Fitzherbert came onto bowl at this stage and he struck twice in his second over. Matt Brewster’s 85-minute outing in the blazing sun was ended when bowled by this branch of the Fitzherbert family (I should have asked for a family tree) when he bowled him for 42 scored off 72 balls with five boundaries.
Debutant Mark Burnard (the 332nd player to represent Tipton), survived a first ball leg before wicket appeal, but there was to be reprieve two balls later when his stumps were knocked over.
A wicket maiden by the same bowler in his next over saw Al Matthews bowled for a duck and, Tipton has lost three wickets in quick succession for the addition of just one run. As Matthews set off for the river for a bit of skinny-dipping, he was replaced by Lev Konar. Lucy Fitzherbert ended her fine spell (1-23 off six overs) and was replaced by Joe Postie.
He was welcomed by a couple of boundaries by Alford, but a wicket maiden in his second saw Konar bowled for three and Tipton struggling a bit on 142-6.
Dave Alford had a couple of escapes, firstly a shot to mid-off was lost in the sun by a fielder and dropped harmlessly behind him, then Lucy FH managed to get a hand to a hard pull to square leg when on 17. This was not costly, as he was caught shortly after (catcher unknown, but probably a Fitzherbert) off the bowling of yet another of the clan, Ben.
Jem Gillham played an enterprising innings scoring off most balls he faced, making 14 before being bowled by Ben Fitzherbert. David Birch only lasted four balls before being bowled by Joe Postie, so it was left to Owen Smith and Phil Wright to use up the remaining three overs, which they did with Smith unbeaten on 10 and Wright 6. Tipton closed on 182-9 and many headed to the river. The later bowlers were all successful Ben FH 3-8, Ed FH 2-14 and Joe Postie 2-29.
This was the fourth time Tipton had met Dunsford and, in each of the previous encounters, they had successfully chased down the total set by Tipton, the last being 187 at Tipton in 2020, so Tipton needed to strike early and David Birch obliged with a wicket maiden, bowling Pete Thomas off his pad for a duck in the first over.
Sam Perry and Jonathon Parker then dominated proceedings, Parker in particular scoring several boundaries hitting the ball straight down the ground. Sadly, the scorebook does not show the over by over score or fall of wickets, but I can only speculate on how the play progressed.
Birch had bowled three maidens before Parker hit him for two straight boundaries and was relieved by Phil Wright. Wright received the same treatment by Parker with boundaries off his second and third over.
The second of these was struck high to deep mid-wicket where Dave Jessop was lurking. He managed to get a hand to it but could not hold on. Wright’s anguish was soothed in his next over as the scenario was repeated, but this time had a happy ending (to all but Parker) as Jessop held on to a more difficult catch.
The batsmen had crossed and two balls later, Will Bentley (2) played too soon at a ball outside off stump which gently moved in and snuggled against middle stump. The dogged resistance by opener Sam Perry was ended when he drove a ball from Wright straight to Dave Alford who held onto it at mid-off. He had scored 23.
The returning Owen Smith matched Wright’s earlier double wicket maiden. Firstly, he bowled Ben Fitzherbert for 20, then had (sister?) Lucy caught behind by Al Matthews (with his Tipton cap sodden after being immersed in the Teign to cool his head) without scoring.
Wright bagged a brace of Perry’s when he bowled George for two and ended his spell with 4-32. He was replaced by Dave Thayre, a scorer’s nightmare who rattled through his overs far too quickly for the scorer to keep up if things were happening.
One thing of note did, a ball was clipped to Jessop by Joe Postie (10) at a much closer mid wicket and he snapped up the chance and possibly a rib in the process, but then Jess is quite good at the dramatics!
After bowling (very quickly) four overs (1-13) Thayre was replaced by Jem Gillham, but the latest Fitzherbert’s at the wicket, Brian and Ben harvested 12 from it and he in turn was replaced by Dave Alford. Smith completed 8 good overs taking 2-19 and David Birch was reintroduced, immediately bowling Fitzherbert of the Ben variety for 11.
With the game lost at about 120-9, a surprise Fitzherbert came to the wicket, young Tom, no more than 10 and seemed to be hiding behind his pads. Tom had already spent time busily retrieving balls in the outfield as a sub fielder and replaced wicketkeeper/scorer Mick Alexander who thought it far too hot to bat.
Tom played some fine defensive shots and was delighted to gain a couple of singles perhaps encouraged by very hot fielders. With overs running out, Brian Fitzherbert tried one run too many and was run out by a yard by Dave Thayre, ending Dunsford’s innings on 143 (or at least that was what the scorebook totalled despite 145 being crossed off.)
Birch ended with figures of 2-20 as Tipton won by 39 runs. Praise is due to skipper Alford’s juggling of his bowling resources in the heat.
The ‘John Williamson player of the match’ award went to Dave Jessop, for his fine knock of 33, two good catches and not too much whinging about his injured ribs.