After the previous week’s tight finish, and resulting loss against title rivals Fitzhead, Kilve travelled to bottom of the table Lydford with the hope of restoring their place at the top of the table. Upon arrival the team were surprised to see such a green track for an August game. They were even more surprised to find it was unrolled due to a highly technical problem with the roller (It had run out of fuel). With one new ball and low-level grey cloud crawling along overhead it was a definite case of bowling first, so it came as no surprise to anyone that skipper Gary ‘Stoner’ Stone lost the toss yet again and Kilve were put in!

In just the third over the wicket of the human mullet, Jay ‘Bugger Grips’ Darrell fell without him scoring. He played down the Bakerloo when he should have played down Picadilly and the long walk back seemed even longer due to the sheer weight of hair hanging off the back of his head.

James ‘Badger’ Payne was next to go in the sixth over. He played across the line, something he has been known to do in the past (ahem) and was bowled off his pads for 4.

The ever-dependable Glen ‘Son of Alan’ Manchip (6) came in at four, and after his supreme knock the previous week hopes were high of a repeat. All of that was out the window however when he feathered through to the keeper, who proceeded to palm the ball to first slip before he caught it at the second attempt. Kerplunk anyone?

Kilve were wobbling at 30-3 off 10, so it was with some surprise that the Lydford skipper decided to change both opening bowlers. This gave opener Cris ‘I love pastel shades even though I’m in my 30’s’ Taylor and incumbent skipper Stone the chance to rebuild and they did so with much gusto. Even though the Lydford bowling attack was swapping about more than a set of Panini stickers in the school playground, the pair were unfazed and put all bowlers to the sword. Taylor reached his 100 in just the 33rd over. He had punished literally anything that was either in the slot or off a good length, and several times the Lydford team were despatched to the surrounding fields to look for the ball.

Stone played his usual classy knock, with a mixed bag of punched drives, late cuts and leg-side flicks with more wrist than a teenage boy with a stack of adult publications!

Together the Kilve batsmen had put on almost 200 before Taylor fell for on 110 trying to smoke the ball to the next village, a thick outside edge looping to deep backward point being his demise.

As is so often the way, another wicket fell in quick succession with Stone departing on 86 although the damage had been done, Kilve had already achieved maximum batting points with the 200 up at the fall of the 5th wicket.

It was left to Pete ‘Yes, Sir’ Stone (20no) and Chris ‘Flintstones feet’ James (14no) to see out the remaining half a dozen overs, and they did a great job of pushing the score over 250, an unbelievable total considering the track and the loss of early wickets. To say Kilve were the happier side at what was a fabulous sit-down tea was an understatement.

With Kilve missing their regular strike bowlers Penwell and Clemenson, it was up to mullet-man Darrell and Dan ‘Dr Dan’ Sefton to open up. Sefton was right on the money from the off, bowling on a good length and letting the track do the work for him. Darrell however, proceeded to spray the ball like a blunderbuss before he finally found his range.

Sefton was first to strike, bowling Chinnock through the gate with a ball that would have not been out of place at any level. Pitching outside off in Boycott’s favourite corridor of uncertainty, the ball seamed back to hit the top of off and that was that.

Next to go was the Morice (2), top-edging yet another Darrell leg-side delivery behind for the keeper Payne to snaffle with ease.

As the drying pitch looked ripe for a bit of spin it wasn’t long before the skipper replaced both bowlers. Both Manchip and G. Stone found bounce and turn from ball one, and it wasn’t long before more wickets were falling. Stone bowled Beaver for 7 and had Sefton take a stunning catch at deep midwicket to remove Lee for 4, before Manchip had Moris caught at first slip for 5, and Wilkinson the next ball with an identical dismissal – Taylor literally not having to move at all. It was a good job, as Taylor had earlier pulled a calf muscle and was as mobile as Rik Waller after an all you can eat buffet!

Only Paradise (28no) offered any resistance, with Stone taking a further two wickets – Bowling skipper Lamb (31) through the gate for a textbook dismissal, and that man again Sefton catching Grundy at deep long on for a solitary run.

With victory seemingly in sight, Stone replaced both himself and Manchip with young Mark ‘I’ve got to work’ Girling and Josh ‘Bodypopper’ Calder. Girling bowled very well, although with a slight leg-side bias and managed to snag himself two wickets in the process, bowling both batsmen (K. Lamb for 2 and Hill-Bag for 1) off their pads to finish the game. Calder was unlucky to not take a wicket off the shortest run-up bar simply standing and throwing the ball, and his humorous banter really did end the game on a high for Kilve who bowled the home team out for just 117 runs, 151 short of their target.

It was a great all round display from the team with everyone playing a full part in the game, and with maximum points gained, Kilve were back to the top of the table. Happy days.