Bradninch signal intent by toppling champs in first round of fixtures

Winning start - Bradninch skipper Gary Chappell

BRADNINCH signalled their intent for the season ahead with a three-wicket win over defending champions Bovey Tracey.

Bradninch finished second behind Bovey last season, which marked them down as contenders for the summer ahead.

Andy Fairbairn (67) went in first wicket down for Bovey and was involved in stands worth 140 before he was fourth out at 149 – one of three scalps for Will Greig.

Minhaj Jalill (32) and Lewis Hammett (34) both chipped in and Hammett’s ninth-wicket stand of 37 with Chris Bradley (18no) got the total up to 213 for eight.

The Bradninch chase as solid to start with as Rory Thomas (23) and Tim Piper (49) notched up 42. Piper went at 99 for three – one of three wickets for Bovey skipper Toby Codd.

Wickets tumbled to Codd and Ashley Causey (3-13) as Bradninch subsided to 111 for five then 125 for seven.

The wicket that eluded Bovey was that of Zimbabwean batsman Tendai Muruma – and that proved decisive.

Maruma made 95 not out off exactly 100 balls in a stand of 91 with Will Squire (14no) that won the match for Bradninch with more than five overs to spare.

Bradninch skipper Chappell said: “Both sides were rusty and missing a few players, but we were happy to get an important win and start the season well.

“Tendai looks a very good player and adds the professionalism and class that we need.

“I was impressed with the attitude and energy our new lads bring, as fielding is an area we were dreadful last season. “There were promising signs but obviously it is only game one.”

Losing captain Codd said it was a patchy performance by his side with both bat and ball.

“Andy Fairbairn batted really well and showed good application, but we struggled through the middle,” said Codd.

“Fortunately Chris Bradley and Lewis Hammett got us to a defendable total.

“Bradninch got off to a good start, but we dropped a couple of vital chances which ultimately cost us.

“Ash Causey bowled an outstanding spell showing us he has great potential for the future.

“Their overseas batted well and allowed others to bat around him.

“Ultimately, we were a strike bowler short and that could daunt us for the rest of the season.

“We'll train hard and be ready for Exeter next week.”