Good win but no comfortable cushion for Sidmouth

BOVEY Tracey, conquerors of Sidmouth in a Tony Pryce Devon Cup tie a fortnight ago, provide the next hurdle for the Fort Field side to clear tomorrow, as they strive to make it three league titles in a row.

Revenge will be one thing for Sidmouth, but more important will be gaining sufficient points to keep North Devon, who are proving dogged pursuers, at bay.

For the second week last Saturday, both sides took 20 points from victories, so a six-point gap remains at the top of the Francis Clark Devon League premier division.

While Sidmouth’s six-wicket win at Exeter was routine, North Devon had to wait until the last ball of their game with bottom side Braunton to complete a win, by one run. Had Braunton’s last pair hit two runs from that final delivery, or even survived for a draw or tie, Sidmouth would be sitting on a more comfortable cushion.

They did all that could be asked at the County Ground, restricting their hosts to 151 all out in 46 overs and then taking 42 to knock off the target, Josh Bess making 73 at opener.

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There was something of a wobble when Anthony Griffiths and Matt Cooke were back in the pavilion with the score at 34, but Bess and Neil Hancock put on 73 to avert any collapse.

It wasn’t the fastest of scoring rates, but operating at one end for 16 overs was Adam Gribble, who was as mean as ever, taking 2-25. Fortunately for Sidmouth, there was not the same degree of control at the other end.

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Bess lost Hancock and Sam Richardson in quick succession, but Jackson Davey joined him to complete the win.

An early run-out and two wickets for Bess had Exeter’s innings in early trouble and, when Aaron Williams was fifth man out for 30 at 71, a rout looked possible.

Graham White, with 34, and Matt Medway, with 24, prevented this with a stand of 53, although Adam Dibble passed the outside edge regularly and could easily have had more than one wicket.

Murray ended the resistance with the first of three wickets for 49, all stumpings by Marc Jenkins, who had held a nick off Bess early in the innings.

Bess returned to knock over the last wicket to finish with 3-35. There was a wicket each for Cooke, Dibble and Hancock.

l SIDMOUTH Cricket Club qualified for the Devon finals day of the national club Twenty20 competition on Sunday, August 15, at Cornwood, by beating Brixham.

Battling with them for a place in the south west regional competition at Exmouth on August 22 will be Abbotskerswell, Bradninch and Plymouth.

Sidmouth’s nine-wicket win over the Torbay area champions last Friday came at a cost when Hilton Cartwright was struck by a rising Mark Orchard delivery, which wrenched the bars of his helmet grille apart and struck him above the eye.

It meant the Australian batsman was out of the next day’s league match at Exeter.

Neil Hancock’s pace took 3-4, Charlie Miles’s spin 3-8 swept Brixham away for 68, with a little help from Will Gater’s 2-11. Gater put wicketkeeper Robbie Powell in some danger, when one of his wicket-taking deliveries plucked a stump out of the ground and sent the bails flying towards the boundary.

Hancock and Matt Cooke, with 19 and 14 not out, respectively, completed the win after the departures of Cartwright and Anthony Griffiths.

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