Thursday, August 22, 2013
Tipton returned from a trip to South Devon with a narrow victory after an exciting finish at Marldon, writes David Birch.
Batting first on a green wicket, openers Phil Tolley and Adam Gibbins built an 85-run partnership, the highest first-wicket stand of the season, courtesy of skill and determination against the lifting ball and more than a little luck as they survived at least five dropped catches.
There was a degree of surprise all round, then, when Tolley (35) cut firmly to gulley and the fielder somehow clung on. Gibbins departed shortly afterwards for 39, quickly followed by Olly Coates, caught behind after two fine back foot cover drives. Steve Shaw maintained the momentum in partnerships with Al Matthews and Michael Dawson which took the score to 150-5. Shaw was beginning to take control when he was caught for 42, prompting a tail-end collapse despite Dawson’s sensible 15 which steered Tipton to 164 all out, a total which looked defendable on such an unpredictable surface.
After a shaky start to Marldon’s reply, when Coates bowled Williams for 1, a 56 run second wicket partnership brought them back into the game. Then Dave Dawson’s fine diving leg side catch off Shaw precipitated Marldon’s own collapse to 80-7, wickets falling to Phil Wright and Dave O’Higgins and another to Shaw.
Tipton’s apparently unassailable grip on the match was then threatened by a stubborn 65 run partnership which took Marldon to within sight of an unlikely victory with only 5 runs an over needed from the last six.
A crucial leg before decision in favour of Wright created the break through and reduced the tension, while tight bowling from the returning openers Coates and David Birch tied up the other end. Marldon were still only a few blows away from victory, but the innings was finally extinguished with a wicket for Birch and a run out, with Marldon 12 runs short and five balls left.