Thursday, August 14, 2014
SIDMOUTH are just one point away from reclaiming the Premier Division title from Exmouth after a hard-earned two-wicket win over Plymouth, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
Sidmouth make the short trip to Exmouth this Saturday 65 points clear of second-placed Plymouth with 66 to play for.
Plymouth can’t win enough games to get past Sidmouth now and – realistically – it is all over bar the shouting.
“I know people have been saying for a while we have already won it, but until we get that point I won’t be celebrating,” said Sidmouth captain Will Murray.
Ben Stein top scored with 74 in a Plymouth total of 201 all out, which looked a bit below par for the conditions.
Plymouth lost James Toms in the first over to Josh Bess – he fell caught behind – but a stand of 92 between Ben Stein (74) and Gionne Koopman (42) took the game to Sidmouth.
Dan Babula trapped Koopman lbw, then Jake Luffman and James Walsh went cheaply as the pendulum swung Sidmouth’s way.
Stein kept going with George Stephenson until Charlie Miles ended their 53-run partnership at 160 for five.
Scott Barlow (2-27) and Babula (3-38), the leading Premier wicket taker with 33 this season, accounted for the lower order as Plymouth lost their last five wickets for 32 runs.
Sidmouth got over the line with more than nine overs to spare, but wobbled near the end after losing Peter Randerson for 70 to Rob Bennett.
Sidmouth opener Liam Lewis didn’t last long – and neither did Will Sobczak. Bennett (4-51) accounted for both of them.
Bess, the Premier’s leading run scorer in 2014, took his tally to 664 with 39 more and with Anthony Griffiths nurdled the score along to 76 for three.
Randerson (pictured) was the main man after that and looked like batting through to the end before a rush of blood led to a rash shot, a slash to gully and a third wicket for Bennett.
Barlow’s unbeaten 24 not out kept Sidmouth on the straight and narrow after Randerson and Will Murray went with victory in sight.
“I was pleased for Pete Randerson that he got some runs as he hasn’t had many chances this season,” said Murray. It was just a shame he got out so close to the end.”
Plymouth skipper Matt Hooper was willing to accept defeat by a superior side, but pleased how well his men competed.
“I thought we played well yesterday but ultimately came up against a side that has a little bit more than us,” said Hooper.
“Sidmouth’s bowling attack has good variation with good pace, clever medium pace and a good spinner.
“They bat a long way down and I think another 20 runs would have made it very interesting.
“Overall Sidmouth deserve to win the league as they are the best side, going the whole season unbeaten would be a serious achievement.
“We have loads to play for as we want to finish best of the rest.”