Bad light dents top two ambitions

DETERIORATING light robbed Sidmouth of a likely victory over Exmouth - and second place in the Francis Clark Devon League Premier Division, writes John Goodwin..

With four wickets down, and Neil Hancock in hospital after a bouncer hit him between the eyes, Sidmouth seemed destined to win with 19 runs needed off 11 overs to pass the visitors’ 195-8.

Two showers had already shortened the game to 46 overs and at tea there was another deluge.

Exmouth had to bowl with a damp ball and Sidmouth openers Anthony Griffiths and Josh Bess took full toll of the regular loose deliveries to have 81 on the board in 18 overs before they were parted when David Lye bowled Bess.

Hancock joined Griffiths and the pair had moved the score on to 114 after 26 overs when Trevor Anning was brought back into the attack. Hancock struck two balls for four and received a bouncer for his temerity. His attempted hook missed and, not wearing a helmet, he took the ball on the nose, retiring hurt with 22 to his name.

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Griffiths fell for 58 in Anning’s next over to be quickly followed by Luke Bess.

This flurry of activity acted as a spur Nick Gingell, who carried on where he left off from his 172 for the 2nd XI the previous week. He was on 30, including two sixes, when the umpires deemed the light was fading to dangerous levels.

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Sidmouth had turned in a decent bowling and fielding performance, highlighted by Josh Bess’s 4-53 and Miles Dalton’s 3-51. Exmouth were held together by Richard Baggs’ 58 not out after Bess had got the wicket of the prolific Lye, caught by Will Murray, for a comparatively cheap 36.

Sidmouth took 14 points from the abandonment to Exmouth’s 12. Budleigh Salterton, who host Sidmouth tomorrow, took 20 points from their victory over basement team Paignton, to take the second spot in the division previously held by the Fort Field club.

Hancock’s injury ruled him out of the three-day Devon game against Shropshire which started at Exmouth the next day, but Josh Bess and Will Gater, the later making his full county debut, maintained a Sidmouth presence in the side.

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