Gater and Murray bat Sidmouth to total sufficient to see off Exmouth

Sidmouth 1sts played Torquay on Saturday. Matt Cooke sends a delivery. Ref shsp 26-16AW 1541. Pictur

Sidmouth 1sts played Torquay on Saturday. Matt Cooke sends a delivery. Ref shsp 26-16AW 1541. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth moved 30 points clear at the top of the Tolchards Devon League Premier Division table with a 76-run Fortfield win over Exmouth.

Batting first, Matt Cooke and Liam Lewis added 39 for the first wicket which fell with the dismissal of Matt Cooke for 14. Luke Bess (18), Lewis (51) and Joshua Bess (21) followed him back to the pavilion to leave the innings 123-4.

Zach Bess (15), Dan Powell (30) and Will Murray (35) were next to be dismissed, but not before maximum batting points had been sealed.

Along the way there was a 79-run partnership for the seventh wicket between Murray and Henry Gater (42). Kyle Brockley chipped in with 10, Matt Hewer was five not out and Charlie Miles was the last man down, out without troubling the scorers as Sidmouth closed on 256 all out with three-and-a-half overs still be bowled!

At the interval Exmouth might have fancied their chances of a successful run chase on another terrific Fortfield wicket.

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However, they lost David Lye to a Luke Bess catch off the bowling of Kyle Brockley and then Sandy Allen was bowled by Will Murray to leave the Maer men 27-2.

When John Evenett was trapped leg before without scoring by the bowling of Liam Lewis, half the Exmouth side were back in the pavilion with just 71 runs on the board.

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Bob Dawson and Richard Baggs set about mounting a fight back and the pair had almost doubled the score when Dawson was caught by Murray off the bowling of Matt Cooke for 22.

When Baggs fell, caught by Brockley off the Coke bowling for 47 the run chase was then 147-7 and the bid to overhaul the home score floundered.

There was still time for Cooke to claim a third wicket before a quick-fire double for Zach Bess rounded things off with the final Exmouth wicket going down with the score on 180 after 44 overs.

Sidmouth skipper Luke Bess said: “The result wasn’t as clear-cut as it appeared.

“It was a game that ebbed and flowed, fortunately we came out on the right side,” he said. I felt we were 30 short of par, but Henry Gater and Will Murray batted fantastically to get us up to 250-plus.

“We bowled well early to build the pressure and push the rate up.

“With Richard Baggs going in at seven Exmouth have a long batting line up, so we never really felt safe until near the end.”

Baggs said he had no complaints about the result, only the way his team bowled.

“Sidmouth bowled with much more control and stuck to a game plan,” said Baggs.

With Sidmouth sitting 30 points clear at the top and Heathcoat now leading the chasing clubs, Saturday’s trip to relegation-threatened Cornwood offers Sidmouth a great chance of further pulling away from the chasing pack.

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