Brilliance from the Bess boys as Sidmouth chase down big score – in comfort!

Zac Bess batting for Sidmouth at home to Torquay. Ref shsp 23-17TI 3905. Picture: Terry Ife

Zac Bess batting for Sidmouth at home to Torquay. Ref shsp 23-17TI 3905. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth cricket followers were treated to a very special afternoon of action at the Fortfield on the third Saturday of July when they saw almost 650 runs with three players in the Tolchards Devon League Premier Division meeting with Bradninch scoring centuries.

Visiting skipper Gary Chappell won the toss and, on what looked another superb batting track wasted little time in opting to bat first.

However, he might have had other ideas just 3.3 overs into his sides effort with the bat with both himself and fellow opener Rory Thomas back in the pavilion with just 13 on the board with Josh Bess and Scott Barlow bagging a wicket each.

The third man in for the Mid Devon side was their Australian all-rounder Matt Foster.

He was to prove to be a major thorn in the side of the home bowlers for he did not depart until the visiting total had reached 309-7 three balls into the 48th over.


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Foster was finally out – caught by Nick Gingell off the bowling of Matt Cooke – for 177. He had faced 128 balls in a 174 minute stay at the wicket, rifling 19 fours and crashing eight sixes.

With Fosters knock, and a half century from Charlie Walker (56), Bradninch closed on 328-7.

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The bowling figures did not make for pleasant reading for the home side – with the exception of those served up by Charlie Miles who, amidst all the carnage, sent down a full shift of 10 overs and only went at 4.4 runs per over, and he picked up the wicket of Ross Acton, caught by Luke Bess for a 17-ball offering of 19.

There were a brace of wickets for the opening seamers with Josh Bess taking 2-80 in his 10 overs and Scott Barlow finished with 2-67 from his 10.

No fewer than eight different bowlers were called into action as the home side tried in vain to get shot of Foster who was firing the ball to all parts!

Even the usually tight bowling of Will Murray was despatched to all, corners as his eight overs went for 65 runs – though he did have the one success, having Dan Hardy caught by Anthony Griffiths for 19.

Matt Cooke, with 1-49 from eight overs, was the other home wicket taker.

Post tea, if the home faithful thought it was going to be a tough task chasing down a 300 plus score, they would have been even more concerned when opener Matt Cooke was bowled by Ross Acton of the very first delivery of the reply!

With a rate of almost seven-runs-per-over required, it was not the start Sidmouth wanted. However, Josh Bess was joined by Luke Bess and they took the score to 70 before Luke was sent back for 43, trapped leg before by that Aussie all-rounder who had caused much of the earlier run-scoring!

One Bess was replaced by another with Zach coming out to join Josh and they set about firing their side into a winning position. Something they achieved in some style as they said: “anything the Aussie can do, we can do just as well”

They put on 215 for the third wicket in two balls shy of 30 overs. The partnership was effectively run-for-run as Josh scored 97 of them and Zach 101 before Josh departed, run out for 120 having faced just106 balls, firing a dozen fours and powering four sixes.

The Bess departure, left Sidmouth closing in on a terrific triumph for, as Anthony Griffiths came out to join Zach Bess; Sidmouth needed another 45 runs from 8.3 overs (51 deliveries).

Griffiths faced only five deliveries and was out without scoring, but he did not need to as Zach Bess continued his assault on the Bradninch bowling completing the win with his eighth four – he also hammered no fewer than eight sixes – to end unbeaten on 137 from 110 balls. It was a stunning innings – one of three outstanding individual efforts with the bat on a wonderful afternoon at the Fortfield.

Sidmouth closed out a six wicket win with some five full overs still to be bowled.

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