Crediton Rugby Club triumph in thriller final of Sandford Cricket Club Community League competition

By Crediton Courier Newspaper in Cricket

CREDITON Rugby Club triumphed by the slimmest of margins when the club’s team beat the Crediton Inn team in the grand final of Sandford Cricket Club Community League last Friday evening (August 4), winning by one wicket.

Big Sam Fice claimed the Man of the Match award, smashing a superb 31 not out. Quite remarkable really, because in his last outing he batted like he was floundering in custard, and couldn’t hit the ball off the square.

In winning, the Rugby Club claimed their first triumph in the competition, having twice reached the final before and lost. In doing so they became the sixth winners of the competition in the six years it has been run.

Quite a remarkable fact that no team has won it twice yet. A fact that in the run-up to the final, my previous reportings mentioned that whoever won would be the first team to win it twice, as Crediton Inn had definitely won it before. Just goes to show that even the best can get it wrong sometimes, and you shouldn’t always believe everything you read. The following facts are true however.

The winning runs (a four) were scored by Sandford Orchards owner, Barny Butterfield, who despite arriving late for the game, having had to travel so far from his home, which overlooks the Creedy Park pitch, smashed the ball towards the mid wicket boundary, much to everyone’s amazement, including himself.

Even then he required the assistance of the Crediton Inn fielder to slide over the boundary line whilst still holding the ball to claim the winning runs. I hasten to add that the ball itself never reached the boundary. Controversy all the way!

Crediton Inn had won the toss and decided to bat first. They totalled 102 in their 16 overs, which to be fair was probably about 20 below the expected par score around 120-125.

Rugby Club made a disastrous start losing their first three batsmen (a loose term I hasten to add) by the time the score reached 20. Skipper John "Lasher" Leyman and Jo Willcox remedied the situation and guided their way towards the 103 target.

However, "Lasher" was run out in comical circumstances, Willco fell just short of the "retirement score" of 25, and so it was left to the mighty Sam Fice, a mountain of man, to smash a few sixes before originally having to retire at 25.

He  eventually returned to the crease in the penultimate over of the game, after the Rugby Club lost their ninth wicket, thanks to Ben Blackburn tactically getting out (he was bowled "neck and crop" and didn’t know much about it to be fair).

Fice promptly smashed a superb six over the long off boundary with the first ball he received, which left four to win. And so it was left to Barny "the Basher" Butterfield to hit the winning runs.

Everyone was in shock, and great celebrations followed as nobody could believe what Butterfield had done. Amazing how you can play cricket with your eyes shut.

A great game played in a fantastic spirit by both teams, and as you would expect the Rugby Club members celebrated long into the night.

The Barrie Sparham OBE Memorial Trophy was presented to the Rugby Club captain John Leyman by Barrie’s widow, Sue. 

After collecting the trophy from Sue, in his triumphant speech that followed.

"Lasher" thanked the Cricket Club for organising the competition, commiserated with Crediton Inn for being gallant losers, and thanked his own team for their tremendous effort in winning, but in particular for thanking Mike Grigg for failing a fitness test, as if he had been available to play, they probably would have lost.

The Cricket Club would like to thank Sue for continuing to sponsor the event, as well as thanking all the Sandford members who have officiated throughout the season with their umpiring and scoring duties, and of course Nicky Radnor who has produced food after every game for the players taking part.

Thanks also to Matt Theedom for the excellent barbecue on finals night, and to Dave Harris for assisting.

A great way to finish the 2017 Community League season and many thanks to the other four teams who took part, Graphic, Sandford Football Club, Sandford Parents and Youth and finally the Three Little Pigs who won the "Most entertaining team" award.

Finally thanks to everyone who took part, and I for one can’t wait for the 2018 competition to start.

Phil Matten

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