Home side make hay in Rec rain

FOR once this season Sidmouth have seen their lead at the top of the Francis Clark Devon Premier League premier division cut after they have failed to win a game.

FOR once this season Sidmouth have seen their lead at the top of the Francis Clark Devon Premier League premier division cut after they have failed to win a game.

In a match abbreviated by the weather, Sidmouth took 12 points from a game they would have been hard pressed to win, given that they had just 32 overs to bowl out opponents Torquay who were favoured by the toss.

They duly inserted their visitors who, despite little evidence of sunshine, made hay to reach 172-6. The urgency to maximise the total in the limited time available led to the run-out demise of Nick Gingell, without facing a ball, and Sam Richardson for 39, as every effort was made to reach 175 and a fourth batting point.

Sidmouth had one ball of their entitlement left after Richardson's departure at 172, but skipper, Will Murray, had to forego it in order that the Torquay reply could start by the designated 6pm deadline.

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The visitors set a cracking pace and had 71 on the Recreation Ground scoreboard in 14 overs when Josh Bess was caught at mid off by Justin Yau off brother Andy's bowling.

At 86, Chris Williams was stumped off a full toss that was high enough to be rated a no-ball. But, like the one that removed his fellow countryman Simon Katich in the momentous Ashes Test at Lord's, the ball that accounted for him was not deemed illegal and he had to trudge off.

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With the score on 108, Anthony Griffiths, for 28, and Gingell both departed. This double blow did not stem the flow of runs as Neil Hancock and Richardson put bat to ball. Hancock was fifth man out at 166 and Richardson followed soon after to bring an enforced close to the innings.

Torquay set off well and had 63 on the board in 13 overs before the introduction of Williams' off-spin delivered the wickets of both openers in consecutive overs.

Will Murray got a solitary wicket, but the important one, of Justin Yau to make it 83-3 and, when three wickets fell in the space of four balls off Scott Barlow's second spell, Torquay lowered their sights to making two batting bonus points by passing 125.

They reached 128-6 at 8.40pm to take seven points from the draw, just better than the six that second from bottom Exeter took from a match abandoned without a ball being delivered.

Sidmouth's nearest rivals, Bovey Tracey, who have stuttered themselves on the rare occasions that the Fort Field side have failed to register a win, this time gained a little ground when they derived 17 points by chasing 125 to beat North Devon by two wickets in a game reduced to 35 overs.

They are now 39 points adrift of Sidmouth.

Plymouth, who catapulted themselves from a relegation spot to sixth place with their win over North Devon, provide the opposition at the Fort Field tomorrow.

The clubs' 2nd XIs are in reciprocal action in Plymouth.

East Horsley are the opposition in the Sunday friendly at the Fort Field.

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