The newly formed 5th XI had the best possible start to its season with a stunning victory over the 4ths in their only pre-season match. Confident 4’s captain Ross Ritchie choosing to bat on the wettest pitch Topsham has ever seen; a decision he must have been regretting after his defiant 1 off 25 balls. Excellent opening spells from Zain Ul-Abiddin and Callum Gurbutt ensured the 4’s were bowled out for only 161. A tense run chase gave the 5ths their first and most satisfying victory of the season.
Riding this high into the BUCS season the 5’s travelled to Coombe Dingle for their match against Bristol 4th XI. Disaster struck early however when vice-captain Archie Hood suffered a broken finger taking a stunner at short-cover. While he was driven to hospital Bristol took advantage of a good pitch and 10 fielders, posting 239. Charlie Kidson was the pick of the bowlers with 4-28.
Exeter’s reply was in trouble at 26 for 3 but fifties from captain Gwilym Davies and Alex Owen meant they reached the 44th over with 44 required. The game was then finished off by the returning Hood who dispatched Bristol with consecutive 4’s. (MoM – Alex Owen/The tape holding Archie’s finger together)
Our general euphoria and hopes of promotion then met reality in a home match against Bath 2nd XI. The less said about this game the better. They scored 300. We didn’t. The only real highlights were the two hailstorms the umpires completely ignored. (Just check Zain’s profile and cover pics)
(MoM – Zain)
Any chances of bouncing back immediately were hampered by Wednesday happy exam timetables. The 5’s consequently travelled to Southampton Solent with only 10 men and Adam Silk at the helm. This new look side proceeded to bowl out Solent for 281, a creditable performance against a 2nd XI. What really made the drive worth it was the chance to see a promoted Will Jones blasting a career best 44 from No. 9. His efforts were all in vain however as the 5’s slipped to another defeat. (MoM – Will Jones)
With rain seeing the game against Plymouth rearranged the 5’s ended their season with two games back to back. First up were Southampton 4th XI. Some tight bowling from Glyn Lewis and Doug Porter meant the opposition took 43 overs to succumb for 73. The target was reached easily by Exeter’s openers for a 10-wicket win. (MoM – Doug Porter)
The next day saw a grudge match between the 5’s and Plymouth 2nd XI. With the threats of various alumni ringing in their ears the 5’s set about Plymouth knowing exactly the price of losing. Three wickets each for Zain and Usman Manazir meant a strong looking Plymouth team fell for only 132. Fifty six quick runs from the blade of Keshav Seshadri made short work of the total. His master class in dealing with rubbish leg spin was a particular highlight. (MoM – Keshav Seshadri)
All told the 5’s finished 3rd in a good debut season with their only defeats coming against 2nd XI’s. If nothing else the season showed the real strength and depth Exeter has at its disposal. Most of all it was a real pleasure to play with everyone in the team!
Player of the Season – Zain Ul-Abiddin
p.s. Thanks to everyone who played instead of studying, hope it was worth it!