Looking forward to return of cricket to Sidmouth

Sidmouth 1sts played Torquay on Saturday. End of the innings. Ref shsp 26-16AW 1583. Picture: Alex W

Cricket will return to Sidmouth April 10 - Credit: Alex Walton

With just days to go before the shops reopen on April 12, it is noticeable just how much preparation work is going on in Sidmouth at the present time as business owners get ready for the reopening. 

This is not just the established businesses but also the new businesses that are due to open soon. These include the new coffee shop in the High Street, the relocation of Polka and the new refill shop in Fore Street. With the hospitality sector due to reopen indoors from May 17 it is also clear that a lot of work is going on with these premises as well. The scaffolding firms must be doing brisk business especially on the seafront! I read an article at the weekend about the huge amount of money that has been saved during the pandemic and apparently a lot of this money is going to be spent in the High Street and in hospitality over the forthcoming months. This will be welcome news for local business owners. We can only hope that the Sidmouth Folk Festival is going to happen this year as well.

I’m sure a lot of people are missing the thrill of dressing up to go out and this will have undoubtedly hit the clothing shops and fashion retailers. I know some people have been shopping online but personally I don’t believe you can beat the personal experience of going into a shop and purchasing the goods there and then.

On the sporting front, we have the return of European rugby at the weekend with the Exeter Chiefs facing a last 16 match against Lyon. Judging by the side that they picked against Gloucester last Friday you can see just how seriously they are taking this match. The Gloucester match did give opportunities for some fringe players who I thought did very well. And another interesting one was that the referee Luke Pearce was from Exeter! He seems to be very well thought of in the game.

On the football front, Exeter City had a 1-0 win against Salford City last Saturday following three straight defeats. They are still in with a chance of entering the play-offs but will need a good run of results to do so. Financially they will have been pleased that Ollie Watkins made his England debut against San Marino. Further payments are due if he makes more appearances. I’m sure he will after scoring on his debut. Apparently the last Exeter product to play for England was Cliff Bastin back in the 1930s. He went on to make 350 appearances for Arsenal before retiring just after the war. He was their leading scorer until Ian Wright surpassed his record in 1997. He returned to Exeter to become a publican and died in 1991.

We are just over a week away from cricket returning at The Fortfield with Sidmouth due to play Clevedon on April 10 and Devon due to play Exeter University on April 11. Unfortunately the restrictions mean that spectators aren’t allowed until the week after but as a public footpath runs around the ground I’m sure that some people will be able to see some cricket! If you happen to be going for a walk please remember not to walk behind the bowler’s arm!

I haven’t got a walk to recommend this week but I was very envious to receive a video from a walking friend who had seen an otter on the River Otter last week. He managed to capture it on film as it frolicked around in the water. Generally otters are more likely to be seen between dusk and dawn so all these recent daylight sightings are quite rare.

Finally, I have entered my seventh decade this week and I cannot wait to get started on living life to the full once again! Hands, face, space for just a few more months, hopefully.

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