Bess and Cooke deliver recipe for another Sidmouth success

Sidmouth were at home to North Devon at the weekend. Matt Cooke defends the stumps. Ref shsp 28-16AW

Sidmouth were at home to North Devon at the weekend. Matt Cooke defends the stumps. Ref shsp 28-16AW 2397. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Matt Cooke and Luke Bess led the run chase as Sidmouth beat Heathcoat by seven wickets to put one hand on the Premier Division title, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Heathcoat were bowled out for 196 in the 47th over – opener and captain Brad Barnes playing the anchor role with 69 in a minute under two hours at the crease.

Sidmouth lost Liam Lewis early – the former Heathcoat captain played-on to his Tiverton RFC team-mate Matt Hague – but were seen through my Cooke, who finished on 79 not out.

It was a big one to win for leaders Sidmouth as Heathcoat were second going into the latest round of fixtures.

Sidmouth are now 45 points clear of Exeter (192), who are up to second, with Exmouth (187) and Heathcoat (182) trailing well behind.

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One more win should do it, although Cooke is a little more cautious.

“Realistically, we probably need a couple of wins unless the teams behind us all lose in the next round, which is unlikely,” said Cooke.

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Barnes and Toby Lochead (28) gave Heathcoat a 39-run start with Barnes carrying on with Will Thompson and Peter Randerson to get to 132 for four.

Jack Dart made 20 and Dylan Penberthy (27) as Heathcoat got to 178 for five, then wickets started to fall in a hurry.

There were two scalps each for Zak Bess, Will Murray and Charlie Miles – and two run-outs too.

“It was a difficult pitch to bat on and Barnes did exceptionally well,” said Cooke.

“Charlie Miles bowled well for us and eventually got Barnes out sweeping.

“All our bowlers were tidy and tried to keep it back of a length, which was the best tactic.

“Once we got Barnes out, wickets fell fairly regularly.”

Losing Lewis was a minor setback for Sidmouth as Cooke and Luke Bess got on with it.

A stand of 97 was broken when Matt Rudston had Luke Bess caught behind for 60.

Josh Bess tucked into the Heathcoat seamers for a quick 28 as 61 went on the board in a rush.

By the time Jack Drew had Josh Bess caught on the boundary there was only going to be one outcome.

Zak Bess – 21 not out of 21 balls – ensured the win game sooner rather than later.

Yet another title could be secured by the Fortfield men as early as this coming Saturday when they host a Plymouth side that still needs points to ensure they are in the top flight next summer.

There are just three games and 60 points left to play for after Saturday’s matches with Sidmouth travelling to first Brixham and then Torquay before bringing down the curtains on another glorious Tolchards Devon League campaign at home to Exeter on the first Saturday of September.

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