(Almost) Worth his weight in gold!- Chris stars with ball for 2s and Nicholls sees them home in style.

Ashburton II 77 all out., Dartington & Totnes II 78 for 3

Dartington & Totnes (19 points) beat Ashburton (1 point) by 7 wickets’

Dartington & Totnes’ second eleven won their fourth successive match after a fine bowling performance restricted Ashburton to 77 all out.

Put in to bat, on yet another slow damp pitch, Ashburton struggled to get the ball off the square and Mick Rusling soon trapped Rob Lambert lbw for 1.  The next batsmen Nick Yabsley injured himself before facing a ball and used Lambert as his runner.  This arrangement did not last long since Kevin Cock, looking to get the score moving, called for a quick single and Jarvis ran out Yabsley.  Cock (9) perished soon afterwards when Gareth Havard had him well caught by Charlie Life at point.  Havard, bowling with pace and accuracy, then had Chris Yeo caught in the covers by Sam Gornall to reduce Ashes to 17 for 4.

Vernon Coon and Tom Pucknell dug in and stopped the rot, but runs dried up. Indeed, if there was an Olympic medal for slow scoring Ashes would have taken the gold. The pair added 16 runs in 21 overs.  Rusling (1 for 6) bowled 10 maidens in his 13 over spell.  Liam Cotton replaced Havard and was equally hard to get away.   Coon drilled a shot straight back at him but Cotton was unable to hold onto it. Cotton was also unlucky when Pucknell skied the ball and a straightforward chance was dropped.

Chris Worth, making his first appearance of the season, was soon amongst the wickets as Ashes finally looked to get runs on the board.  Worth began putting the ball on the spot immediately, despite not having bowled for almost a year. His turn soon deceived Pucknell who was bowled for 11. Ashes skipper Matt Coon was keen to get the scoreboard moving but was bowled by Worth, second ball, injudiciously attempting a big hit-31 for 6.  Vernon Coon began to open his shoulders and Jerry Crouch hit 13 before Worth induced him to hit the ball into Mike Jarvis’ sure hands on the mid-wicket boundary.  Havard (3 for 23) returned to the attack and Russ Lacey drilled him straight to Nicholls at long off.  Worth, 4 for 19, wrapped things up when Sam Gornall held an excellent catch above his head to dismiss the obdurate Vernon Coon for a battling 26.

If D&T thought victory would be a formality they were soon disabused.  Ashburton opened the bowling with skipper Coon’s pace and young Matt Churchill’s well-flighted spin- which immediately paid off. Jarvis was caught in two minds by Churchill, checked his advance down the pitch and offered the bowler a simple return catch.  Paul Taylor was trapped lbw by Churchill.  After ten overs D&T had scored just 6 and were challenging Ashes fifth wicket pair in the Olympic slow scoring event.  Tom Petherick isn’t a man to look a gift horse in the mouth and when Churchill’s line strayed he struck him for three sweet boundaries through mid-wicket. However, when Coon bowled Petherick for 14 the game was in the balance, with ten-man Ashes beginning to fancy their chances.  Enter James Nicholls.  Nicholls playing with what for him was admirable restraint, took the game away from Ashburton, hitting 43 not out with 4 fours and 2 sixes in a mature innings.  Opener Sam Gornall supported Nicholls well and was never troubled in scoring 15 not out, as D&T comfortably finished the game with 24 overs to spare.

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