Dartington and Totnes First Eleven began the season in style with a comfortable eight-wicket win over local rivals Kingsbridge in the C Division West.
New D&T skipper Harry Baxendale won the toss and elected to bowl first given the plethora of bowling options available to him and he didn’t have to wait long for the first wicket to fall when with the sixth ball of the season, new overseas import Phil Snyman bowled Bhanu Da Silva for 4. Two overs later the returning Jono Colegate struck, bowling Steve Inch without scoring and Snyman had a second soon after, bowling Grose for 2 to leave Kingsbridge struggling at 13-3.
The score had advanced to 44 when the fourth wicket fell. Richard Carr could only edge a turning Baxendale delivery through to ‘keeper Alex Winch who gratefully pouched the chance. What followed next was a mini-collapse as D&T turned the screw. James Cook was dismissed LBW to spinner Chris Cook and two balls later the bowler also had Rakesh Gheravada LBW for a duck. In the next over Baxendale had a second wicket when Clive Clark got a bottom edge to a sweep shot and was well caught by Winch behind the stumps. Kingsbridge had lost four wickets for only one run which had left them struggling at 45-7.
Neil Peach came in and looked to take the attack to the D&T bowlers but unfortunately he didn’t receive the support he needed from the other end and lost partner Aaron Chandler without scoring when Baxendale had him caught at slip by Cook. Baxendale then had his fourth when he bowled Neil Taylor for 4 and the final wicket fell when last man Ben Taylor edged a James Howrihane delivery through to keeper Winch for his third catch of the innings.
Kingsbridge had been dismissed for 74 in what was a clinical bowling performance from D&T. No bowler went above three runs an over with Baxendale being the standout for his superb figures of 4/7 from 9 overs.
However, the D&T chase did not get off to the ideal start. Having hit the first ball of the innings to the boundary, opener Howrihane was bowled by the ever-reliable Peach for 4. The next partnership took the game away from Kingsbridge and calmed any fears of a D&T collapse. Surviving opener Snyman and number three Baxendale batted calmly, playing each ball on its merits and punishing any loose deliveries.
With the score being taken to within 4 of the target and looking as if this pair would see D&T home, Snyman went for one big shot and was caught by Carr off Gheravada for a battling 37. This left it to Baxendale and new man Cook to see D&T home finishing unbeaten on 20 and 2 respectively.
It had a superb all-round performance from D&T with all of the bowlers showing no signs of early season rust and setting up the platform for the batsmen to see the side home. Next week D&T First XI face a tough trip to recently relegated Babbacombe while the Seconds are at home to Ipplepen Thirds.