Champions elect Sidmouth target records

PUBLISHED: 11:00 31 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:49 18 June 2010

Sidmouth back row: Anthony Griffiths, Chris Williams, Scott Barlow, Sam Richardson, Neil Hancock, Josh Bess. Front: Matt Cooke, Nick Gingell, Will Murray (captain), Marc Jenkins, Simon Sobczak.

Sidmouth back row: Anthony Griffiths, Chris Williams, Scott Barlow, Sam Richardson, Neil Hancock, Josh Bess. Front: Matt Cooke, Nick Gingell, Will Murray (captain), Marc Jenkins, Simon Sobczak.

WITH no chasing sides able to capitalise on Sidmouth failing to win for a second successive week, it now appears inevitable that the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League championship will be staying at the Fort Field.

WITH no chasing sides able to capitalise on Sidmouth failing to win for a second successive week, it now appears inevitable that the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League championship will be staying at the Fort Field.

Indeed Plympton, now in the Premier Division's second spot, are closer in terms of points to bottom club Sandford, the side they beat on Saturday, than they are to Sidmouth.

The Fort Field side have a 47-point advantage over Plympton who are 41 points ahead of Sandford.

On Saturday, Sidmouth clocked up 15 points from a draw with Plymouth, some dropped catches costing them the extra five points they could have gained for completing a win.

Plymouth won the toss and inserted Sidmouth who, after a sedate start, racked up an imposing 239-6 on another reliable Fort Field pitch. The foundation was laid by century-maker Josh Bess and Chris Williams, who contributed 67, in a stand of 165 for the second wicket.

The topping out ceremony was carried out by Matt Cooke who hit successive sixes off the final two balls of the innings to make it to 20 in just six deliveries.

After the visitors had stumbled to 113-8 from the security of 59-1, it seemed only a matter of time before Sidmouth registered their eighth win of the season. It appeared unlikely that Plymouth could even make the 160 required to secure points from a draw with nine overs left to make the necessary runs.

But John Parker's number 10 berth in the batting line-up belied his ability and he guided his side to the draw and past 160 with 38 not out, which included successive sixes dispatched off balls heading towards his helmetless head from Neil Hancock. Plymouth closed on 164-8, their unbroken ninth wicket stand being worth 51.

In the last six overs, however, catches that would normally have been taken were floored at slip by Nick Gingell, who thought wicketkeeper Marc Jenkins was about to snaffle the ball, Sam Richardson, who got his legs in a tangle getting down to a knee-high chance at mid wicket, and Scott Barlow, who had the setting sun to contend with at deep cover.

Hancock and Barlow had put the skids under the visitors' reply, taking three wickets between them in the space of three overs as the score moved from 104-4 to 108-7.

Hancock sent 15 consecutive overs down to finish with 4-54 while Barlow took 3-37 in two spells. Williams was the other wicket taker and he didn't concede a run in his two overs.

l Tomorrow Sidmouth travel to Bovey Tracey, who were on the end of a nine-wicket drubbing by North Devon after failing to make three figures last week.

With five games left, the side is targeting going through the league season unbeaten, something done only four times previously, twice each by Exeter and Torquay.

It is also trying to discover what the highest points total achieved by a champion side is to see if there is a record to be eclipsed.

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