Bradninch can't dodge drop despite win over Plymouth

Eliot Acton - knocked over the Plymouth tail-enders

BRADNINCH won by three-wickets at Plymouth, but it was a hollow victory that was not enough to keep them up.

With Premier record breaker Faizan Riaz already back in Pakistan preparing for the domestic season, and no James Toms, James Burke, Plymouth’s top three were all absent.

Plymouth could have done with some of Riaz’s 1,150 Premier runs this season as they were skittled out for 83.

Second team skipper Steve Luffman top scored with 22. Dan Goodey (16) was the only other batter in double figures.

Left-arm seamer Ross Acton (3-25) took wickets up top, spinner and captain Gary Chappell (3-15) worked through the middle order and Eliot Acton (3-10) knocked over the tail.

Bradninch subsided from 49 for three to 56 for seven on the chase, which was the point where Premiership survival escaped them. Goodey (3-35), Matt Petherbridge (2-16) and Sam Stein (2-24) did the damage for Plymouth.

Charlie Sheen (24no) scored the runs that won it for Bradninch.

Losing skipper Gary Chappell said relegation was a hard pill to swallow for a team who were Premier runners-up this time last year.

“Yep, it was hard to take, but we got what we deserved,” said Chappell.

“Sandford showed more fight and spirit on the run in. 

“Plenty of iffs and buts, but ultimately we weren’t good enough.”

Plymouth finished fourth in the final table – a big improvement on three successive relegation battles.

They were the form side of the second half of the season – only losing twice – which set skipper John Varcoe thinking…

Said Varcoe: “It was a positive season but one we will look back on and think 'if only'. 

“A few of those close games in the first half of the season going the other way and we would have been right up there going into the last game.”