Budleigh will be boosted by Azam

Local rivals likely to pile pressure on

SIDMOUTH make their shortest away trip of the Francis Clark Devon League season tomorrow to Budleigh Salterton, who will be heartened by a first victory of the season that took them off the foot of the premier division table.

With the delayed arrival of Pakistani all-rounder Hammad Azam likely to boost a side keen to show their lowly position is a false one, Sidmouth can expect the match to be as keenly contested as ever.

They moved back to the top of the division as they completed a less-than-convincing three wicket win at Paignton, while rivals North Devon lost to Plymouth.

After dismissing their hosts for 107, Will Murray taking 5-21, Sidmouth were expecting a feisty Paignton response, but not the verbal barrage that greeted some players and was the subject of discussion between the umpires.

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Having Sidmouth at 26-4 and then 56-6, Paignton could argue that the ends were justifying the means, but then Matt Cooke defied his instincts to make a patient five in a stand of 34 with Adam Dibble to take the score to 90 before he was caught behind. Nick Gingell had swished a quick 22 to move Sidmouth on from 26 to 56 in quick time.

Dibble showed a professional’s mindset to block the straight balls and hit the loose ones and make a crucial 38 not out. With him at the end, with an unbeaten eight, was Miles Dalton, whose right to be present was persistently questioned by Paignton’s most vociferous players who considered he would be better suited to gardening at home.

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Considering 17 wickets fell for 220 runs at Queens Park, any skills in cultivation he may possess would have been well spent on the pitch.

The Sidmouth attack exploited it well and holding four edges standing up to Murray and Neil Hancock was testament to wicketkeeper Marc Jenkins’ skill.

Catch of the day, however, was taken by Hancock, who stuck a hand out at slip to take a searing edge and remove Bradley Rasool who had seemed untroubled by either bowling or pitch as he made 32.

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