Devon into Unicorns Trophy final after dramatic victory at Sidmouth

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Devon are on the way to the Unicorns Trophy final next month after scraping past Suffolk on wickets lost in a tied semi-final at Sidmouth, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Confusion reigned in the seconds and minutes after the game as players and officials speculated on who had won?

A public address announcement that ‘we don’t actually know who has won’ did nothing at all to clarity matters.

The confusion was largely caused by the influence of messers Duckworth and Lewis, whose system was brought into play due to a break for rain.

Morning rain meant a delayed start and a 35-overs a side game started just before three pm. Devon lost two overs batting time due to more rain, which opened the door for Duckworth and Lewis.

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Devon recovered from 58 for five to make 201 or eight in an innings slimmed down to 33 overs. Zak Bess (78no), Ben Green (38) and a 15-ball cameo of 29 not out from Scott Barlow dug Devon out of trouble.

The Duckworth-Lewis System calculation was that Devon’s revised total was 199 for eight so Suffolk would have to make 200 to win – one less than Devon scored – which is one of the more bizarre side effects of using DLS.

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Suffolk needed 14 to win from the last two overs, six two win from the last set of six, two to win with four balls left… and didn’t get them.

Suffolk’s last pair scrambled a leg bye off the final ball bowled by Ben Green to ‘level’ the scores at 199.

Neither side anticipated a tie, neither had the captains by the look of it at the end, and the umpires weren’t sure either.

Only after the rulebook had been thumbed were Devon declared winners. They lost eight wickets to Suffolk’s nine.

Devon will meet Cheshire at the Getty family ground in Buckinghamshire on August 29 – three days after they are due at the same venue for finals day in the Unicorns T20 competition.

Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, said before the game his side had to be prepared for the ebb and flow of a close encounter.

“A little less ebb and at a bit more flow might have been desirable for the state of my health,” joked Donohue afterwards.

“To get 201 on the board having been 58 for five was a top-draw effort by our batters.

“I felt out total was competitive, but not beyond reach and when they batted the scenario kept changing all the time.

“At 44 for five the momentum was with us; at 159 for six Suffolk were in the box seat and at the start of the last over I was anticipating shaking their hands and with them well for the final.

“Cricket can be a harsh game at times. This time we were not on the end of it.”

Devon 201-8 (Z G G Bess 78no, B G F Green 38, S Barlow 29no; T W W Rash 3-33), Suffolk 199-9 (D P Batch 47, B D Shepperson 30; Z G G Bess 3-32, B G F Green 3-38, G R Chappell 2-28). Devon bt Suffolk on fewer wickets lost using DLS.

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