Tipton keep their nerve to overcome Stokeinteignhead

Tipton fielders surround the bat during the latter stages of the game at Exeter against Geriatrics.P

Tipton fielders surround the bat during the latter stages of the game at Exeter against Geriatrics.Picture: PHIL WRIGHT. - Credit: Archant

Tipton came out on top in a closely fought encounter with visitors Stokeinteignhead on Sunday, writes David Birch.

Skipper Dave Alford opted to field first and gave David Birch and Jim Bugler first use of the new ball.

Both struggled for consistency against openers who were quick to punish the loose ball, at least one of which seemed to appear every over.

Stoke openers Paul Mitchell and Hugo Longrigg were able to take the score comfortably to 68 before Dave O’Higgins and Alex Tubbs entered the fray.

Tubbs was immediately successful, clipping the top of Longrigg’s leg stump with his second ball and then proceeded to take a wicket in each of his next three overs, reducing the visitors to 86-5. At the other end, Mitchell survived an appeal for caught behind off O’Higgins before picking out Alford at long-off the following ball for a top-scoring 45.

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Stoke appeared to be on the ropes with O’Higgins picking up a further wicket and Bugler returning to claim three in his next four overs. Stoke’s eventual demise was delayed by a stubborn 39 from Jijo George, who was last man out, caught by Alford off Birch with the score on 149. This rounded off a superb afternoon in the field for the skipper who finished with four well-taken catches.

Tipton made heavy weather of their reply following the early dismissal of Tubbs and Dave Thayre, both of them looking good before falling to the accurate Chris Saunders for 12 and 20 respectively. At 53-2 there seemed no immediate cause for concern, especially with Phil Tolley looking as solid as ever at the other end. However, Al Matthews, Alford and Bugler fell rapidly for the addition of only 26 more runs.

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With Tolley on the brink of 50, Jessop had appeared to calm the situation with two fours and a six in quick succession before he guided the ball neatly into the keeper’s gloves. Enter Jem Gillham on 102-6 with the game in the balance. He offered staunch support with his 10 not out as Tolley picked off the bad balls to finish on an unbeaten 82, with Tipton winners by four wickets.

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