Taunton Get Back To Winning Ways
It did not take Taunton long to return to winning ways as they followed up last week's defeat with a thrilling six-run win over Bedminster.
On a glorious afternoon at Gipsy Lane, in-form Australian Chris Davenport (87) and skipper Jack Cooper (78) helped set the visitors a daunting 300-run victory target.
And despite the best efforts of former Australian international Ian Harvey (126) the home side came away with their third win in four league matches.
After the match vice-captain Ben Orr was all smiles on an afternoon that saw all four senior sides register successes;
"What a game, not often you see nearly 600 runs scored in a day and only six runs separating the two sides at the end of the game," he said.
We were pleased to get the opportunity to make first use of a fantastic batting track, with Jack and Chris taking full advantage, the pair of them batted really well and to put on a partnership of that magnitude was exactly the type of foundation we had discussed pre game.
"Chris looks to be going from strength to strength the more opportunities he gets to spend at the crease, and it is always great to see the skipper scoring runs. Rob came in and finished the innings with the power we all know he is capable of.
"The bowlers stuck to the task in the face of a truly class opponent, and Chris deserved to pick up the extremely valuable wicket. We always knew even with 299 on the board it was going to be a close finish as it proved to be.
Orr paid tribute to his slow bowlers and is now looking forward to building another winning run.
"All the spinners did a great job, Fitty, & Greeners did a particularly good job to push the required rate up and up and fortunately Jacko and myself managed to do what was required at the end to ensure we defended our total.
"To find out after the game that all 4 TCC teams had completed a victory on the day just added to the momentum we can take forward into next week’s tough clash in Bristol."
On what seemed a perfect afternoon for batting it was something of a surprise when Harvey won the toss and inserted the hosts. Openers Josh Kelly (7) and George Webber (10) made a steady start before both falling in quick succession off the bowling of Tom Pugsley and Sam Bhaumick respectively.
At 32 for two Taunton were in danger of stuttering but Davenport and Cooper had other ideas.
Overseas star Davenport continued his rich vein of form, bringing up his fourth fifty in as many innings, while at the other end Cooper also reached the milestone despite surviving an earlier scare. By the time the third wicket fell the pair had added a mammoth 175 runs for the third wicket and swung momentum well and truly back into their side’s favour.
The Taunton skipper was unfortunate to be caught off a full toss from Harvey when a first century since 2011 looked on the cards. Davenport too was denied a maiden hundred in Taunton colours, falling victim to the old Australian superstition when David Phillips 13 bowled him short of his hundred.
Having sat with his pads on for the best part of 30 overs Hugh Kelly (10) unselfishly tried to inject some late impetus into the innings, before Rob Hake, in typical fashion, smashed his way to an unbeaten 46 to leave the hosts on an imposing 299 for seven from their 50 overs.
Bedminster’s reply got off to the worst possible start when Cooper had opener Ryan North caught behind by Jon Kerslake before the scorers had been troubled.
From the other end fit-again seamer George Cook had Bedminster number three Sam Bhaumick in all sorts of trouble but somehow finished his opening burst wicketless despite a number of near misses.
Spin twins Graham Fitt and Chris Greenwood were introduced to try and stem the flow of runs and the pair did just that, with the required run rate creeping up to more than eight an over with 20 overs left.
Fitt (1-47) picked up the wicket of Bhaumick (28), while the introduction of leg-spinner Josh Kelly paid immediate dividends when he cleaned bowled Alex Tryfonos (15) with just the fourth ball of his spell.
All the while Harvey, who had opened the innings alongside North, was ominously beginning to show his class. Every time it looked as if the pressure was building on his side the Australian all-rounder would ease the strain with a couple of timely boundaries.
Had the 41-year-old remained at the crease for the duration of the innings he would surely have seen his side home, however, Greenwood made the key breakthrough when he picked up the prized scalp, caught superbly on the boundary by fellow countryman Davenport for 126.
Thereafter, a Taunton victory looked the more likely result and despite Chris McCormack’s unbeaten 78, some crafty death bowling by Orr and Cooper sealed the result in the host’s favour.
Orr picked up a pair of wickets in the penultimate over of the game and the last of his 10-over spell, while Cooper capped a fine all-round game by bowling an economical final over to see his side to a six-run victory in a very tight and exciting finish.
Next up for Taunton is a trip to Brislington on Saturday, with the skipper sure to find himself with a pleasant selection headache due to the return of a number of first team squad members.
© Cricket World 2014