Hampered by rain at Bradninch

PLAYING time lost due to rain and sundry other reasons denied Sidmouth a chance to materially close the gap on the France Clark Devon Premier Division front runners with victory at Bradninch, writes John Goodwin.

The mid Devon ground was right in the track of afternoon rain that arrived to bring a close to proceedings with the visitors 18 runs short of a swift victory.

They had hustled Bradninch out for 63, three wickets falling in Josh Bess’s first over, and had 45 on the board after 10 overs of the reply when the already damp ground was enveloped in rain.

Bess’s opening over set the tone for the Bradninch innings which lasted 37 overs.

He had opener Paul Tweddle caught behind by Robbie Powell first ball, Tim Piper was run out by Will Murray straight after and Ross Acton contrived to be bowled for four when trying to leave a delivery – the ball hit the back of his bat and cannoned into the stumps.

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Sam Anderson got into the action with an early wicket to make it 12-4 and Murray kept the pressure on with 3-8 in 10 overs, seven of which were maidens.

A key wicket was that of Gary Chappell whose resistance for 28 was ended when he got a leading edge on a brute of a delivery and Murray dived full length to clutch the ball one-handed. A sharp slip catch by Bess gave Murray his third wicket.

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When Murray’s bowling quota was over the spinners came on and Bradninch’s later batsmen obliged Matt Cooke and Miles Dalton by picking out boundary fielders with lofted shots. Cooke took 2-6 in six overs, his other wicket being a sharp caught and bowled.

A request to have the pitch rolled between innings could not be met when the roller broke down on the outfield and time was lost as it was pushed beyond the boundary. Then the umpires had a long discussion about how many overs had to be bowled before the tea interval could be taken.

Knowing the clouds were gathering, Josh Bess and Sam Anderson came out with guns blazing, but Bess perished when a miscue was pouched. Anderson struck a boundary-strewn 23 before offering a catch and Anthony Griffiths took up the mantle, advancing to 15 before conditions were deemed unfit.

Sidmouth took 11 points from the abandoned game while the clubs above them, Bovey Tracey, Exmouth and North Devon took six from games which did not see a ball bowled. Bovey, on top, are 21 points ahead of Sidmouth.

There was play in only one other game in the division, Plymouth dismissing Heathcoat for 73 in 35 overs and completing victory in 17 with one wicket down. Heathcoat host Sidmouth tomorrow.

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