Luck levels out over season
CRICKETERS who fail to get the rub of the green are often offered the consoling words that things will even themselves out over the course of a season and Sidmouth can feel this has been proved before a third of the fixtures are complete, writes John Goodwin.
CRICKETERS who fail to get the rub of the green are often offered the consoling words that things will even themselves out over the course of a season and Sidmouth can feel this has been proved before a third of the fixtures are complete.
In the first game of their Francis Clark Devon League premier division title defence they were denied a likely victory over North Devon when the umpires decided the light was too poor to continue.
In last Saturday's game against Exeter the game ended later, and in probably gloomier light, as Sidmouth prevailed. And crucially, they received four balls of their reply to Exeter's 172-7 before a long rain delay intervened.
League rules say that, in weather-affected games, the second innings must begin before 6pm and those four balls constituted the start. The rain forced the players off just after 5pm and they did not return until nearly 6.30pm.
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Had the rain come five minutes earlier, Sidmouth would have had to be content with nine points from an abandoned game. They doubled this haul thanks to victory, achieved chasing their target in 32 overs.
Key was a stand of 99 between Anthony Griffiths, who left the field unbeaten with 75, and Hilton Cartwright, 46, for the second wicket.
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Tight bowling from Sidmouth restricted their hosts to a modest total in a full 50-over complement. Only three maidens were sent down by the Sidmouth attack, but Exeter strokes crossed the boundary only 12 times. At 100-2, with 18 overs to face, Exeter would have been eyeing a total in excess of 200, but they never broke out of shackles applied after the top three batsmen were prised out after making sound contributions.
In his second spell, Neil Hancock had three victims to finish with 3-42. A run-out, Will Murray, Matt Cooke and Nick Gingell, with the last ball of the innings, were the other wicket- takers. A tumbling catch by Cartwright and high pluck by Sam Richardson were among the fielding highlights.
After Josh Bess was bowled by Jon Tipper, with the score on 21, Griffiths and Cartwright scored at a-run-a-ball before the latter was bowled. Hancock departed shortly after and Gingell, keen to ensure the deteriorating light did not thwart his side, struck his second ball for six, but was run out three balls later.
Richardson joined Griffiths for the final assault and it was well after 8.30pm when he hit the winning run.
Eighteen points from the game kept Sidmouth top of the division, one point ahead of North Devon who took 19 points from victory over Braunton.
Sidmouth are at home again tomorrow, hosting Bovey Tracey, who had a second match of the season fall victim to the weather last week. This, combined with their failure to play to potential so far, sees them in an unflattering third from bottom position.