MATT Taylor hit a match-winning 58 not out as Stoke Gabriel 2ndXI ripped up the form book to beat Shaldon Optimists by 27 runs in Friday night’s Brockman Cup final at Torquay.

Shaldon, who were able to field their 1stXI in the competition, had breezed through the qualifying rounds while Stoke had found results harder to grind out.

When Stoke were 31 for three at the midway point of the 20-overs-each game, it seemed Shaldon were in the driving seat.

Taylor and Nathan Kidd (29) changed the face of the game completely with a stand of 81 for the fourth wicket which put Stoke well and truly on the front foot and on course for a total of 124 four four.

Shaldon were just about up with the asking rate at 60 for three with eight overs to go, but faded as Stoke captain Paul Collings deployed his youthful bowling armoury to good effect.

Stoke had pulled clear in the last five overs – Taylor, Kidd and Doug Ansley racking up 49 runs for the loss of Kidd – but Shaldon slowed to a crawl and 81 for seven with five to go became 97 for eight innings closed.

Collings was able to deploy eight fielders on the ropes when he felt like it – no fielding circles yet in the competition – which meant Shaldon found it hard scoring boundaries.

It’s good captaincy to know the rules and play to them, however it didn’t make for great cricket at times and competition organisers will inevitably now look at fielding circles next season.

Nothing should detract though from the positive aspects of Stoke’s win, which included seeing and U17 player open the bowling and an U15 spinner pin Shaldon down on the chase. 

For Collings the win in the final summed up Stoke’s cup campaign: lots of bits and pieces contributing to their success.

Said Collings: “At 31 for three we were struggling, them Matt Taylor came up with a knock that changed the game.

“All the way  our wins over Abbotskerswell and Dartington & Totnes, different people have come up with something when we have needed it. Matt barely scored a run in the semi-final.

“Matt’s batting was a bit special, but so was, Nathan Kidd’s catch to remove Carl Woolnough, Jack Tolley’s four overs for 16 runs and Seb Ansley’s three for 15 bowling off-spin.

“It was a real team effort and I a proud of everyone in the team.”

Stoke made a slow start against Ross Abraham – one for seven from four overs – and when Kidd came out to join Taylor the situation was bordering on dire.

Taylor took the lead with four fours and the same number of sixes in a 38-ball knock, towing Kidd along with him as the score climbed to 112 for four.

At the height of the thrash, Jack Gallagher was hit for 11 in his first over and 18 in his second. He didn’t get a third!

Shaldon were 18 for one when quick-thinking Rob Baker ran-out Todd Ballman and 36 for two after Kidd took a stunning catch at short mid-wicket to remove Seamus McKenna and give Angus Lee (1-20) a wicket.

Lee, another U17, was another member of Colling’s teenage bowling attack to emerge with credit from the side’s fielding performance.

Jay Tuffnell fired a return catch back at Ansley at 60 for three and as the situation deteriorated Shaldon lost three more wickets slumping to 73 for six.

Craig Greenwood was bowled by Ansley; Carl Woolnough was caught down at third-man by Tolley off Baker (3-19) when he mis-hit an attempted clout over long-on and Dave Hansford was teased out of his ground by Baker and stumped by Alex Bertram.

At 73 for six it was game over. In the time left Baker and Ansley went on to complete three-wicket hauls.

Taylor, to no one’s great surprise, was named man of the match by adjudicator Jim Parker, the deputy editor of the Herald Express.

Captain Collings was presented with the solid-silver Brockman Cup by Angela Glendenning, a granddaughter of William Stanhope Brockman, who donated the trophy back in 1933.

Stoke Gabriel 124-4 (M Taylor 59no, N Kidd 29), Shaldon Optimists 97-8 (C Woolnough 20, J Woolnough 16; R Baker 3-19, S Ansley 3-15). Stoke bt Shaldon by 27 runs.