By Stephen Lees


Saltash St Stephens 2 v Gunnislake

GUNNISLAKE travelled to Saltash St Stephens Seconds on Saturday, which was also Armed Forces Day. And the team were all guns blazing as the hosts stumbled to a four-wicket defeat, and Gunnislake extended their winning streak to four matches.

St Stephens won the toss and chose to bat on a hard wicket and fast outfield; a high scoring match was on the cards and they set off at pace, with the score rattling along at four an over from the off. Simon Yeo (20), Sam Renfree (18) and Duncan Nobes (33) all contributed well, but Gunnislake kept chipping away with regular wickets. 

Spin from James Boundy and Joe Organ was particularly effective as Gunnislake sought to apply the brakes. 

From 44-1 after ten overs, only another 23 were added in the next ten for the loss of two further wickets. 

When St Stephens lost their fourth wicket with the score on 96, it was enter unlikely hero Curtis Barlow. 

He hit the ball hard, especially in an arc on the leg-side and once again the St Stephens scoring rate accelerated. 

Seventy-three runs were plundered in the final ten overs as they passed 200 for maximum batting points. Barlow’s innings only came to an end in the 39th over, by which time he had scored a career best 62. 

A total of 202-8 was a decent total and left the game very much in the balance. 

Joe Organ, James Boundy and Mike Punchard took two wickets each.

Tea was taken at match sponsors The Ploughboy Inn before Gunnislake started their reply. 

An early wicket brought James Boundy to the crease and the game suddenly looked a different one. Boundy immediately took the attack to St Stephens, driving straight, cutting hard and lifting the ball into the leg-side. It was a batting masterclass deserving of a higher level than Division 5, as the score rattled along at between seven and eight an over. 

Boundy’s innings was only brought to an end when a ball from Callum Iles-Wright scuttled through low to trap him LBW, out for an excellent 55. 

At this point everything seemed to change; Gunni were becalmed and St Stephens gradually began to believe they could still win. 

Brain Martin defended diligently, but captain Dinesh Thirupuvanarajah was struggling to find his timing. 

When Martin was out the score was 141-4 and the required run-rate was back around five an over. However, Thirupuvanarajah was at last finding his rhythm: not the most orthodox, but brutal cross batted hitting down the ground, with some over-pitched balls being despatched to square leg as well. 

Once again the game was tuning in favour of Gunnislake. Two quick wickets fell at 185, including Thirupuvanarajah for 64, playing over a yorker from Matthew Drury, but any thoughts of a late twist were put to bed by Mike Punchard who hit a rapid 18 not out, to see the visitors home by four wickets with seven overs to spare.

Andy Dore and Matthew Drury each took two wickets in the losing cause. Gunnislake take 19 points from the match and Saltash St Stephens claim eight.

Gunnislake remain in second place and now face a critical six matches which will define their season. 

Four of those six matches are against their rivals at the top of the table, with Wadebridge Thirds being guests at Gunnislake’s Hawkmoor ground this Saturday. 

For now though, the team are riding high.

Gunnislake’s Iconic Opticians man of the match: James Boundy.