Table Topping Muskets Dominate In Cornwall

09/08/2018 7:36pm BST by Chris Chantrey

The Muskets headed south to take on the St Austell Claycutters on a beautiful Sunday in picture perfect Fowey. With an eye on standings the Muskets knew that a win would take them back to the top of the Northern Conference and the team delivered with the bat, notching an impressive 59-2 victory over 5 innings.

The hosts were missing a few key players, including their usual pitching rotation, so the Muskets took advantage of the situation.  A big first innings saw 19 runs cross the plate for the Muskets, with everyone in the line up getting home at least once.  Offensively the Muskets line up showed no mercy as the Claycutters were forced into pitching changes to try and alleviate some of the pressure.  Alas the changes failed to bring the desired effect for the home side, as the Muskets continued to read the ball too well.  The plaudits have to go two three hitters in particular though, as Jake Palmer and Andres Rivas Bianco both went deep, before Leroy Bailey outshone them both with a grand slam to pile on the misery for the Claycutters.  Over the five innings the nine Muskets that travelled all recorded multiply hits and the runs just kept on coming.

With such big batting innings it would be understandable for the Muskets to lose a bit of discipline in defence when they were called on. However the whole team showed great mental character as they supported Andres in a four innings no hitter, with only one run passing the plate.  There were very few defensive plays needed and the Claycutters found it difficult to make solid contact; with all four of the infield on hand to make an out when needed, as well as a great catch on the run from right field by Alan Trunks ensured the Muskets stayed on top.  The bottom of the fifth saw the Muskets hand the ball to Alistair Hutton for his first competitive innings on the mound and he showed off some nice pitches.  He continued to dominate the Claycutters offence, only allowing one hit and one run and striking out two to end the ball game.

The win puts the Muskets 0.5 games ahead in the Northern Conference, with two season defining games coming up against the Plymouth Mariners and the Exeter Spitfires.  If the Muskets want to reach the championship game they must win both to secure their place or risk relying on Bristol slipping up to give them an opportunity to clinch a spot in the season finale.