Ton-up Brend helps Bideford set early pace

Bideford's Tom Brend in batting action

Bideford's Tom Brend in batting action - Credit: Matt Smart

Bideford are the early leaders in the Tolchards Devon League B Division after winning by 46 runs away to Heathcoat 2nd XI,

Opener Tom Brend helped himself to a century and Ollie Hannam added 63 in a 45-over total of 222 for three.

Matt Hodson (2-37) and Nathan White (1-50) accounted for dad and lad James and Jack Ford (21) by the time the total reached 79, but the next wicket had to wait until Brend and Hannam had hoisted another 115 runs for the third wicket.

Brend was eventually bowled by Hodson for 103. It was his maiden league century and surpassed his previous career best of 71 made against North Devon last season.

Opener Guy Bucknell played the anchor man role for Heathcoat and was the last man dismissed in their total of 176 for eight. The former Dorset batsman kept going at his end, but only Lee Dixon (21) in the top six offered worthwhile support.

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By the time Bucknell and Himanshu Aligh (16) put together a stand of 42 for the eighth wicket the game had slipped away from Heathcoat.

Steve Bond (2-30) took top-four wickets for Bideford, but Jack Ford was the bowler who stole the limelight. He bowled three maidens on the reel when he came into the attack and then took four wickets for 15 runs in nine overs.

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Winning captain Alex Hannam was quick to recognise the stand-out players after the game.

“Tom Brend 100 was class and batted really well on a wet track,” said Hannam.

“Oliver Hannam's knock was gritty and he accumulated his runs well.

“And Jack Ford’s four-wicket haul was very tidy.”

Bideford are two points clear of Chudleigh at the top of the table two rounds into the season. They entertain Thorverton this Saturday.

*Saturday's programme in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League was not a total wash-out, but it wasn’t far short of one.

Of the 73 matches scheduled across 15 divisions only 17 got started – and only nine of those were played to a finish.

Among the casualties was North Devon’s top-of-the-table clash in the A Division with Plympton, which was called off after a fruitless two-hour wait for the weather to improve.

One of the few games to beat the weather was at Honiton where Braunton 2nd XI stormed to an eight-wicket win.

Rob Ingham (46) top scored for Honiton and chip-ins from Nathan Groves (24), Richard Potter (28) and Alan Ostler (24no) produced a 40-over total of 161 for six.

Gary Osborne (3-21) took the bowling plaudits for Braunton after Mark Johnson (1-24) and Shash Iyer (2-26) had kept things tight from the start.

Braunton could not have wished for a better start as openers Julian Lambert (57) and Nigel Cross (76) knocked up 135 for the first wicket.

By the time Cross was second out on 152 the target was 11 to win and the game over as a contest.

*North Devon had hoped to have South African seam-bowling all-rounder Malcolm Cloete as their overseas player this summer but Covid-19 travel restrictions have made it impossible for him to take up the appointment.

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