Bowser blitz helps North Devon beat Braunton in league opener
- Credit: Fiona Tyson
Dan Bowser hit some early season form with a quickfire 64 in North Devon’s five-wicket league win over Braunton.
Although the Tolchards Devon League does not get under way until May 1, fixtures started on Sunday in the regional North Devon League.
Bowser, North Devon’s England Disability XI batsman, top scored as Braunton’s modest total of 122 for eight was knocked-off with more than 20 overs to go.
Jack Whittaker anchored the Braunton innings with 62 off 105 balls. Steve Moore’s 23 in a stand of 64 with Whittaker was the next best.
James Reddick and Jamie Lathwell, two new faces in the Braunton order, did not score a run between them.
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George McEndoo (3-13) pipped Fred King (2-16) for the North Devon’s bowling honours.
Opener James Tyson was an early casualty when North Devon batted, but Bowser and Jack Moore (31) made a big dent in the target with a stand of 84 for the second wicket.
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Jon Baglow (2-21) removed both run getters and Andy Norman (2-29) snared a couple of wickets, but Ben Howe’s 11 not out concluded proceedings.
Whittaker and Dan Brierley were Braunton’s principal scorers in an 83-run win over Barnstaple & Pilton.
The first Saturday game of the season is the chance to knock off the rust after a long winter lay-off, although not for Braunton opener James Kemp, who only survived four balls.
Whittaker (26) and Tom Robotham (24) got Braunton up and running then skipper Callum Mitchell weighed in with a run-a-ball 24 as the total reached 85 for three.
Wickets fell in the middle order, but Brierley (33) and veteran Steve Moore (17) added an unbroken 51 at the end to reach a 40-over total of 189 for eight.
Freddie Norton (2-27) was the only B&P bowler to take more than one wicket. George Elnaugh (8-1-22-1) impressed on the economy scale.
Barnstaple & Pilton were held to 106 for nine in the full 40 overs.
Rob Holm made an ultra-patient 37 off 73 balls, just two of which were dispatched to the boundary, and next best with the bat was Rob Wilkins (10).
Moore (2-27), Mitchell (2-6) and Martin Biddle (2-18) took the bowling plaudits for Braunton.
*Bideford were on the wrong end of an eight-wicket defeat in their North Devon League opener at Sandford.
Runs were hard to come by against Brian Leach (2-27), Jack Prescott (2-14) and Pete Steer (1-12) as Sandford limited Bideford to 87 for five.
Tom Stone batted through from the fall of the fifth wicket for an unbeaten 42 as Bideford recovered to make 156 for eight.
As targets go it always looked within Sandford’s reach once opener Shaun Hawkins got going.
Hawkins and newcomer Lawrence Walker, who arrived from Ottery St Mary during the close season, put on 118 for the second wicket to end the game as contest.
Hawkins got out for 94 with victory in sight, going for the big hit he needed for a ton.
“We needed five to win and the only way I could get a ton was to hit a six,” said Hawkins. “So I ran down the wicket to the bowler… and missed!”
Walker (44 not out) wiped off the remaining runs.
Bideford 2nd XI are at home to near neighbours Victoria Park this Sunday.
*North Devon 2nd XI defeated Heathcoat 2nd XI by five wickets in a last-over finish at Instow.
Will Bucknell biffed a run-a-ball ton in Heathcoat’s 40-over total of 231 for two. Fellow opener Jack Burnand chipped in with 37 and Joe Du’Gay got on with it to make a rapid 75 not out off 66 balls.
Bowling breakthroughs were few and far between for North Devon, although Josh Atkinson managed to keep the runs down during the seven overs he bowled.
North Devon cruised to a five-wicket win with four balls to spare at the end of a well-timed chase.
Opener James Starkey played the anchor role with 69 off 98 balls and by the time he was fifth out on 160 the chase was well under way.
Jimmer Thomas (44 not out) and Richard Screech (30 not out) saw North Devon the rest of the way there, with Finn Stoneman – four for 34 off eight overs – the leading Heathcoat wicket-taker.