Sidbury skittle Axminster on way to 238-run win
PUBLISHED: 14:32 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:12 22 May 2019
For a third consecutive game, Sidbury found themselves batting first, this time at a damp and overcast Millfield, writes Alex Paget
Regular opener Phil Grove was partnered by green-fingered groundsman Mark Bishop, bumped up a spot in place of Grove's usual partner, Ben Pollard.
Ashen-faced, the bereft Grove set about the Axminster bowling with all the fury of an abandoned bride.
The ever-empathetic Bishop kept pace and the adulterous 50 partnership was up midway through the eighth.
Perhaps spying besuited Pollard at the boundary's edge, Bishop fell on his sword for 33, reuniting Sidbury's opening flowerpot men.
Alas, Phil and Ben were soon apart once more as the latter played on. Flobadob. Pollard's wicket brought moustachioed Ollie Pyne to the crease, Sidbury's very own Mario brother.
Pyne was seldom fluent, scratching around for 144 not out, but he stuck to his task and was helped along by fellow lock-forward Will Foster, making his season's bow.
The two touched gloves, crouched and engaged like Spartans of old.
Ball resources might have been tested as the two colossuses plundered leather but water urchin Simon Astleigh-Jones was waiting in the Sid, trousers rolled up and bare-footed.
Up and down the overgrown river he scampered and splashed, hurling back the ball with one hand whilst grasping a half-eaten trout in the other.
Foster eventually fell for 36, leaving Pyne and the nonchalant Josh Reed not out at the end of the forty.
Sidbury took the field with just eight, erstwhile opening bowler Reed having gone to take care of a damsel, whilst Grove chose the interval to make his customary inexplicable disappearance, apparently taking Foster with him.
Stephen Howe opened up the bowling at one end, with Chris Fitzhenry at the other.
The two pounded up and down the corridor of uncertainty in search of an elusive edge.
Just as Sidbury were back to eleven men, Howe left his eerie corridor and felled the Axe number one's off stump.
From there on the wickets fell regularly as for once Sidbury held her catches, the pick of the bunch a diving daisy cutter by Fitzhenry at cover.
Meanwhile gloveman Astleigh-Jones had been cajoled out of the river and continued to refuse to let anything red escape his clutches, heroically returning a byes count of zero - a possible Millfield first.
The overs were rattled through, not least by Windy Miller who sent down one six-ball set in 28.3 seconds, a new PB and Commonwealth record.
Reed charged down the hill with amphibian aggression, taking three wickets and deserving more, before applying the coup de grace as he leapt fairly high to his left to pouch a one-hander off the bowling of Pyne and send the number 11 packing.
The messianic Reed held both arms aloft as the adjudicators convened to find Ollie Pyne was named the Man of the Match.