CONRAD SUTCLIFFE AT THE RECREATION GROUND
IPPLEPEN’S Steve Bowden performed the hat-trick in the penultimate over of the night to help his side to a seven-run win over Bovey Tracey 3rd XI in the final of the Valeport-sponsored Brockman Cup.
With two of their 18 overs to go – two were knocked off due to bad weather and poor light at Torquay Recreation Ground – it seemed Bovey were going to retain the cup they won 12 months earlier in a last-over finish against Lustleigh. The target was 135 to win and Bovey needed 25 to do it.
Harry Pitman was a man on a mission for Bovey Tracey as he had scored 25 off 11 balls at the start of the 19th over – and took another six from Bowden’s next two balls as the target came down.
Bowden bowled Pitman with ball number three and had next man in Harry Bannister brilliantly caught by a diving Freddie Harvey out at long-on with his next delivery. It was a spectacular catch that seemed to take the wind out of Bovey’s sails.
Jake Forey went out on the hat-trick and was bowled having a swing at a straight ball from Bowden. Bovey had been 110 for three at the start of an eventful over, They were 116 for six at the end of it.
Seventeen to win from George Tapley’s final over was too tall an order for Bovey, who ran out of time on 127 for six.
It was a thrilling finish to a relatively low-scoring final that had swung this way then that.
Pens made 134 for three with skipper Tapley top scoring with 64, His stand of 102 for the second wicket with Toby Holroyd formed the bulk of the total.
Holroyd played his shots to get Pens moving again after they had been contained by Bovey bowlers Pitman, Jack Ansley and Ben Kay, who bowled that T20 rarity, a maiden!
Bovey cruised to 65 without loss in reply with Ryan Jones (57no) and Harvey Brown (28) leading the way.
Losing Brown, Sam Russell and Jamie Bishop for eight runs scored put a different complexion on the game.
Jones and Pitman set about rebuilding the chase and a couple of big overs – two bowled by Bowden, one by Harry Lewis – knocked 42 off the target. With three overs to go it was back in the balance.
Tapley returned for a second spell to bowl out from one end and restricted Bovey to just eight runs, which set-up the thriller finish.
Charles Quartley, the chairman of competition sponsors Valeport Ltd, had no hesitation naming Bowden as his man of the match.
Quartley said in a brief speech at the end of the final that the competition is still providing worthwhile cricket at a lower level for young and old alike.
“Bovey Tracey fielded a side comprised almost entirely of under-19s with a 26-year-old captain in Jamie Bishop – and Ipplepen were mostly teenagers, supplemented by a couple of olds heads, skippered by 17-year-old George Tapley,” said Quartley.
“A think you will agree with me, whichever side you supported tonight, that the composition of both teams is a good thing for the future of cricket.”
One of the older heads in the Ipplepen side was on the shoulders of 59-year-old batsman Jeff Heath, whose first appearance in a Brockman Cup final was 34 years ago back in 1989 when the Pens defeated Stoke Gabriel.
Tapley said it was a tremendous feeling to win the cup playing with and against players he had grown-up with.
On the turning point in the match, Tapley added: “Bowdy's over was the clincher, but the catch by Freddie Harvey was the Champagne moment.”
At 17 years and eight months of age, Tapley is the second youngest captain of a Brockman Cup side. Abbotskerswell’s Elliott Adams (2018) turned 17 just a few days before his side won it. And Charlie Mitchell, also of Abbotskerswell, was 17 years and nine months when he hoisted the trophy in 2015.
Ipplepen II 134-3 (G Tapley 64, T Holroyd 44), Bovey Tracey III 127-6 (R Jones 57no, H Brown 28, H Pitman 31; S Bowden 3-21). Ipplepen bt Bovey Tracey by 7 runs.