Lewis rifles century as Sidmouth move 20 points clear at the top of the table

Sidmouth 1sts played Torquay on Saturday. Knocking the stumps. Ref shsp 26-16AW 1528. Picture: Alex

Sidmouth 1sts played Torquay on Saturday. Knocking the stumps. Ref shsp 26-16AW 1528. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Liam Lewis clouted a century then Will Murray took four wickets as Sidmouth tightened their grip on top spot in the Premier Division with a 63-run win over North Devon, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Sidmouth couldn’t have done any more than take all 20 points, but had a bonus too as Exeter lost at Heathcoat and dropped back from second to third.

Lewis clobbered 102 off 127 balls during 191 minutes at the crease to help Sidmouth reach 271 for nine. He suffered from intermittent back spasms throughout his knock and did well to bat as long as he did.

Along the way there was a stand of 99 with co-opener Matt Cooke – he made 50 off 53 balls – and handy partnerships of 29 with Luke Bess (18), 39 with Zak Bess (19) and 41 with Kyle Brockley (26). Ton-up - Liam Lewis

Brockley did the sensible thing, which was keep the strike rotating in favour of Lewis as Sidmouth added more than 60 in the last 10 overs.

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Lewis was last man out on 259 for nine, the third and final victim for Jack Hockin (3-57).

Pick of the bowlers wicket-wise was Devon seamer Josh King with four for 44.

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North Devon ran into early problems against Sidmouth seamer Scott Barlow, who bowled seven overs for nine runs and nipped out opener Dan Bowser and Max Curtis in a running total of 10 for two.

Barlow isn’t a regular for Sidmouth at the moment as he lives in London, but was home for the weekend to play for Devon on Sunday.

Tom Ansell (48) and Kyle Verreynne (16) got North Devon back in the game by putting on 62, but 72 for two deteriorated to 89 for five as Murray (4-36) and Charlie Miles made inroads.

Back came North Devon with another sizeable stand, this time between skipper Barney Huxtable (61) and keeper-batter Ben Mason (54).

Sidmouth were glad to see the back of Huxtable at 162 for six – Brockley claiming him lbw – and Mason was left with the bottom half of the order.

A target of 110 to win in 14 overs with four wickets left proved too stiff for North Devon. Mason was ninth out at 207 with the game long lost by then.

Sidmouth skipper Luke Bess said he wasn’t sure the target was big enough, but his fears were unfounded.

“I felt we needed 300, which at one stage we looked like getting, but North Devon pegged us back well,” said Bess.

“Liam batted very well to take the innings all the way through.

“Having the added bonus of Scott’s control at the start made a big difference.

“Once we pushed the rate up it was always going to be a tough ask.”

The Sidmouth lead at the top of the table is now 20 points with Exmouth sitting second. Tomorrow (Saturday) Sidmouth travel to fifth placed Bovey Tracey who they beat by eight wickets when the sides met at Fortfield back in mid-May.

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