Sidmouth’s Josh Bess guides Devon to Minor Counties success over Cornwall at Exeter.

PUBLISHED: 11:34 13 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:34 13 June 2013

Ottery cricket club. Photo by Terry Ife ref shsp 2821-22-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Ottery cricket club. Photo by Terry Ife ref shsp 2821-22-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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Sidmouth’s Josh Bess hit a half-century as Devon beat Cornwall by five wickets to open their Minor Counties campaign in the best possible way, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Over three days at Exeter – back on the county fixture list after a break of 26 years – the game ebbed and flowed with neither side on top for long.

Devon were glad of key innings from newcomer Rhys Davies (55) and Bess (65) on day one and day for getting them out of the mire after they had struggled chasing Cornwall’s 264 all out.

Devon finished in 263 – a deficit of one – with Davies providing the power-plays after coming in at 173-6 in the middle of a mini collapse.

A six-wicket burst from Trevor Anning, which took him past 150 Championships wickets for Devon, had Cornwall rocking at 90 for six second time around.

Killing Cornwall off proved harder than first thought, although as defending Minor Counties champions they were never going to roll over easily.

Three days of absorbing cricket – described by both camps as ‘a great advert for the Minor Counties game – ended with Bess and Matt Golding seeing Devon home with five balls of the final over to spare.

Having finally dismissed Cornwall for 246, Devon had to make 248 to win in 65 overs, which wasn’t entirely straightforward.

Cornwall skipper Tom Sharp used spin to slow Devon down – he and left-armer Shakil Ahmed nagged away for most of the last two sessions – but Devon had time and used it well.

Although opener Peter Bradley missed out - bowled for four by Kelvin Snell – Rob Holman (26), David Lye (48) and Benton (50) steadily reduced the target.

Cornwall dropped Lye on two – that would have been 120 for four – and regretted the slip for the rest of the match

Devon lost Benton and Matt Thompson going from 155 for three to 174 for five and another wicket then may have changed the game.

Bess, whose 60 not out came off 84 balls and included six boundaries, finished the job with Matt Golding his batting colleague at the other end for an unbeaten 30.

Devon went into the game with a few trepidations as some of their first picks weren’t available – Woodman and Burke – and neither were some of their first reserves.

Davies and Golding were given call ups and both justified their selections.

“The first time I saw Rhys Davies in the nets I knew he had something about him and Matt Golding is an improving player, who impressed me the first time I saw him bat for Bovey and make 80 against Plymouth,” said director of cricket Keith Donohue.

“The ‘pups’ both did well and I was really chuffed for them.

“I thought our seam bowling over three days was of the highest quality – Anning, Bess and Mark Orchard all bowled well – and our batting got us through.

“Picking the side for the next game is going to be interesting as it will be difficult to tell anyone who played against Cornwall they are going to be left out.

That next game is at Usk against Wales starting on June 23.


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