17 points but that was close!

Sidmouth 3rd cricket: It is not often that satellite navigation is employed by the players as they drive to their home games.

Sidmouth 3rd cricket: It is not often that satellite navigation is employed by the players as they drive to their home games. However, such is the financial importance of the use of the Fortfield for car parking during FolkWeek, the second team played at Bicton, displacing the third team to Sampford Peverall, 40 minutes up the M5.

After winning the toss, captain Graham Munday could therefore not claim that a knowledge of the home pitch had anything to do with the insertion of Abbotskerswell. Rather more, he hoped that the men from South Devon's total of 24 from last week was an indication of their batting ability.

It was, therefore, a disappointment that Sidmouth managed only one wicket at drinks, Abbots limping along to a rather conciliatory 56-1 off 25 overs.

It is not easy to take wickets when there is neither life in the pitch nor the batsmen playing strokes (which seemed apologetic after their performance from the week before), but it was certainly the case that Sidmouth were guilty of letting the game drift.

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In the second half of the innings, Abbots upped the run rate when some lusty and uncomplicated hitting allowed them to reach a defendable 174-5 from their 50 overs.

Perhaps the biggest talking point of the Abbots' innings (not withstanding the controversial action of James Gingell, currently under ICC review) came in the last over when a wicket brought one of the more antiquated members of the Abbots' team to the crease. Expectations of a prod out to the covers were confounded as the batsman went for a Kevin Pietersen style 'switch hit', resulting in a quickly run one and smiles all round.

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After a wonderful tea (thanks must go to the members of the Sampford Peverall club who supplied the provisions), Sidmouth opened up with Tom Bowring and Gingell. Gingell took strike and, after one sighter, struck the second ball of the innings for six.

As Bowring repelled double bouncers from the other end, it was decided between the men in the middle that they would only get themselves out through lack of concentration and so it proved as Gingell tried one big shot too many and was castled for 31.

Although wickets continued to fall throughout Sidmouth's reply, the home side ticked along to the required total and had Bowring (37), Graeme Bess (27) and Nathan Ritchie (20) largely to thank for that.

It was not until a late flurry of wickets, including two in succession from one of Abbots' females, that Sidmouth seriously contemplated defeat. However, the eighth wicket brought together the vastly experienced Bob Macey, fresh from a 171 not out for Devon over 50s, and the 14- year-old Robbie Powell.

The combination worked as Sidmouth squeezed out the remaining runs with two overs to spare.

Although Sidmouth were indebted to Macey's patient knock of 37, many of Sidmouth's ranks felt that his innings could have had a little more aesthetic sparkle.

That said, there are no marks for artistic interpretation in cricket and Sidmouth were happy to end the day with another 17 points.

By James Gingell

Sidmouth 3rd cricket

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