Essex impresses as Tipton are edged out by Stokeinteignhead
Tipton welcomed South Devon side Stokeinteignhead to their riverside home for the first time on Saturday after both clubs had been let down by the non-appearance of touring teams.
After this well-matched and friendly encounter, Tipton will hope that this becomes a permanent fixture in future despite losing by five wickets.
The difference between the two sides was the taking and dropping of crucial catches: fielders on both sides took some tremendous catches, but some Tipton spills made all the difference.
Batting first, Tipton’s openers had to negotiate some lively and uneven bounce, which accounted for Matt Williamson and Dave Jessop early on, leaving Tipton on 22-2. However Phil Essex, together with Phil Tolley, took the score to 83 with a mixture of stout defence and firm treatment of anything short, sending seven 4s and a six to the boundary.
When Essex departed on 45, the stage seemed set for Tolley to lead Tipton to a commanding position and he had duly reached 57 at a little over a run a ball, when he hooked one to fine leg for the first of the day’s crucial catches. Debutants Dan Jeacock and Michael Dawson did their best to move the score along, but were frustrated by uneven bounce and there was insufficient time for Dave Dawson’s aggressive hitting to take the total beyond a modest 154-9.
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With only three front line bowlers at his disposal, skipper David Birch gambled on them making sufficient inroads into the opposition to force an unlikely win and this appeared to be paying off as he and Steve Shaw quickly reduced the visitors to 39-4. Birch’s 3-10 was capped by a stunning one handed catch high above his head by Essex and Matt Williamson’s brilliant reflex effort at silly point off Shaw gave Tipton hope.
However, these were the last demonstrations of fine fielding as a succession of drops and catches falling just short of fielders let Stoke off the hook on their way to a five wicket win with just two overs left.
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