Westhay triumph in opening encounter

THE rain stayed away for this early season pipe opener at Muddy Lane, Meare

THE rain stayed away for this early season pipe opener at Muddy Lane, Meare. Huge efforts were made to prepare a strip just off the square on the outfield, which proved to be a sporting proposition, with plenty of erratic bounce and variable pace.Axbridge skipper Phil Saunders was soon regretting his decision to bat first, after taking 22 overs to eke out a dour, defensive eight. Luckily, mystery man Don Pelham chipped in with 53, seeing off the pacey Burrows and Lusby. Only Mike Hatcher (23) and Jordan Peters (15) looked assured as Axbridge clung on for the 40 overs. Tarling was the pick for Westhay, with 3-26.The visitors' total immediately started to look defendable after the break, with Peters (2-13) working up a fearsome pace. Mike Day (2-28) kept the other end quiet until Lusby (25) started to wind the willow. The Jarmans, Chris and Nick, and Pete Would applied the tourniquet while Hatcher (3-28) got among the wickets. But it was clear that, if the last pair Burrows (18 not out) and Chaut (18) could hang on until the close, the target would be reached.In a final roll of the dice, Saunders turned to fast man Peters. This came up trumps, as Chaut's off stump was uprooted. It was a day where pace paid dividends, but also a game played in the right spirit by two improving, friendly sides.

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