Devon league jostling due to bonus points
THREE places and four points separate Sidmouth and table-topping Exeter, whom the Fort Field side visit tomorrow in a Francis Clark Devon League premier division fixture that marks the halfway point in the season.
THREE places and four points separate Sidmouth and table-topping Exeter, whom the Fort Field side visit tomorrow in a Francis Clark Devon League premier division fixture that marks the halfway point in the season.With weather playing such a prominent role in the action to date, no team has clearly staked a claim to the championship and any one of the top six clubs has the chance of landing the silverware.Bonus points picked up in rain-affected games are causing a little jostling at the top of the division and Sidmouth dropped to fourth from third, having picked up just two for restricting Plympton to 150-5 in a shortened 41-over innings at the Fort Field. Budleigh Salterton, who were beaten by the weather as they neared victory against Exmouth, landed six bonus points to leapfrog Sidmouth.Four of the Plympton wickets to fall were taken by Scott Barlow and two came in one over. Hancock, who snaffled up catches for two of them, was the other wicket taker, striking with the second ball of the innings.Sidmouth's reply was at 23 without loss when further play was ruled out.lThis match went a little further than the reciprocal 2nd XI fixture at Plympton where the players never returned to the field after tea.Sidmouth had compiled 159-7 in 42 overs, the bulk of the runs coming from Jamie Wardrop with 42, Graham Munday with 32 and Sean Priestley with 24. It was the most testing attack Sidmouth had faced to date and it would not be a surprise if the return match between the two clubs at the back end of the season turns out to be a decider for the championship. Exeter, tomorrow's visitors to the Fort Field for a 2nd XI encounter, may wish to argue about that.l The dampness retained in the Fort Field pitch made Sunday's annual encounter between the club's over-30s and under-30s a lively affair, at least at the start, with Mark Jasper and Miles Dalton, reverting from spin to his seam of several years back, rapping the young batsmen painfully.Louis Talay needed to retire hurt after taking a blow to the arm and early wickets tumbled regularly to suggest the seniors might hold sway. How wrong that would turn out to be.Josh Bess, Trent Ovens, Will Gater and Fraser Hanson took a liking to some of the old timers' second string bowling to enable a tidy 40-over total of 232 to be reached. Had the youngsters' late middle order not capitulated to Dave Gibson and Saj Patidar, the total might have been nearer 300.Making 233 for victory would surely be a test for the wise heads, and the bar was raised when Mike Dibble had to relinquish his spot at the top of the batting order. This was due to a misjudgement of a catch lobbed up by son Adam resulting in a nastily split finger.However, a confident response seemed well on course as Anthony Griffiths and Saj Patidar reached 40 without alarm. Then an alert piece of fielding by Hanson caught Patidar meandering out of his ground and the house of cards collapsed. Seven wickets fell for six runs and the final one went down at 72.The 160-run difference between the two sides is the biggest margin of defeat in this the fourth of the annual encounters and the series is level at two-all.l Sidmouth travel to Torquay for a Devon Cup encounter on Sunday, knowing Exmouth will be the semi final opposition at home on July 13 for the winners.