Topsham St James 2nd XI battle well in defeat at Sidbury

A cricket ball on the scorers table.

A cricket ball on the scorers table. - Credit: Archant

For the second time this season a strong Sidbury XI was far too good for a young and inexperienced Topsham St James 2nd XI, writes Mike Tracey.

Sidbury were put in to bat, and took full advantage.

Openers Ben Pollard and Ed Chester went cheaply, but that only paved the way for Will Bedder and skipper Alex Paget, both of whom put bat to ball with a vengeance.

A smart bit of fielding by Nick McAleer ran out Paget for 45, scored off 39 balls, but Simon Rowe (27 off 24) kept up the attack and saw Bedder safely to his century, scored off just 75 balls.

Nobody else contributed much, but Bedder ended on 125, before sacrificing his wicket in search of even faster runs, just before the innings closed on 234-7.

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The Topsham bowling took a bit of a mauling, but Rahul Antony stood out with a well-deserved 3-35, and his opening partner, Billy Knightley, exerted a rare degree of control. The other wicket-takers were Vedang Mandalia and Reece Miles, two promising young spinners, and there was a second run-out.

The Topsham fielding was generally pretty good, if sometimes a little unorthodox, and there were excellent catches by Reece Miles and Nick McAleer.

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The Topsham batting was a bit of a procession, and the two top scorers were the opening bowlers!

Rahul Antony again showed his class with a well-hit 28, which included six boundaries. Billy Knightley hit three in his 15.

The only other batsman in double figures was Vedang Mandalia, with 11, and Topsham’s only consolation was that their total of 87 was 13 more than they scored against Sidbury the last time these two sides met.

The Sidbury bowling was impressively steady. Barney Stone made up for his golden duck when batting to take 3-20 in a good, accurate spell.

He was ably assisted by his opening partner Damian Armes (1-27) and the two change bowlers, Simon Rowe (2-13) and Simon Astley-Jones (2-19).

Altogether, a day Topsham will be happy to forget.

Sidbury took a full 20 points to Topsham St James’ five.

Sidbury will now contest a semi-final fixture while, for the Tops, that concludes the 2020 Tolchards Devon league campaign.

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