Murray designed mobile net put to good use

Gingell skippers side

SIDMOUTH Cricket Club’s new mobile net, designed and built by skipper Will Murray, has been put to immediate use, getting batsmen to practise hooks and pulls – strokes which caused a number of downfalls at the Fort Field last weekend.

The pace and bounce of the pitch took Plymouth, and home batsmen, by surprise and badly executed attempts to dispatch short balls led to many of the 16 wickets to fall.

Simulating the bounce of the grass pitches is nigh on impossible on Sidmouth’s synthetic turf net surface so Murray has come up with a mobile net that can be pushed out on to the square. Soon after its completion on Sunday it was in use after Old Warwickians called to say they could not raise a side for the scheduled fixture.

Whether the practice will be of benefit tomorrow when Sidmouth visit Braunton, which does not boast the quality of pitch it had 15 years ago, is debatable but, for home games, the facility will certainly be of value.

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Nick Gingell will be skippering the side at Braunton because Murray is attending a wedding.

Chasing a mere 110 to win against Plymouth, Sidmouth were a nervous 7-3 before Hilton Cartwright showed how to play the short ball and guide Sidmouth to a four-wicket win with 31 overs spare.

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With him when the winning runs were hit was Matt Cooke, dropped off a miscued pull, but already having done a fine bowling job for Sidmouth, with 2-12 in 12 overs.

Murray took 4-34, Josh Bess – now being checked out by Gloucestershire scouts – 3-39 and Neil Hancock picked off the last wicket in his second over for five runs. Although wicketless, Will Gater turned in a creditable opening spell.

What should have been a routine trot to victory suddenly had some hurdles put in the way as Sidmouth lost a wicket in each of the first three overs.

Cartwright and Anthony Griffiths provided stability but, at 42, the latter departed and 19 runs later Sam Richardson followed him. Cartwright remained untroubled by all the comings and goings and, with Jackson Davey, got the score up to 97.

Davey’s departure and Cooke’s escape were the last of the scares, but losing six wickets meant Sidmouth took 18 points from their victory, while rivals North Devon gained 20 when beating Bovey Tracey.

It means Sidmouth’s lead at the top of the Francis Clark Devon League Premier Division is cut to seven points and, coming up hard on the rails are Budleigh Salterton, rock bottom not long ago but now stringing results together.

l Sidmouth’s players were pleased to see Sam Cummins making progress from the serious injuries he sustained in a fall in Italy, among the spectators.

They will be hoping he can join the travelling support going to the County Ground, Exeter, on Sunday, when Sidmouth bid to regain the McKinley White Twenty 20 trophy.

They face a semi-final against Alphington, their nemesis in last year’s final, at 2pm.

The victors will play the winners of the Exeter-Exmouth semi-final which starts at 11am. The final is scheduled to start at 6pm.

KEY members of Sidmouth’s 2nd XI are absent for the visit of Exmouth to the Fort Field where the home side will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the Francis Clark Devon League 2nd XI Premier Division tomorrow.

Mark Jasper will be skippering the side, in the absence of Saj Patidar and a seam bowling replacement is needed to cover for Fionn Wardrop.

Exmouth come to the game possibly suffering shell shock after posting 324-7 last week and then seeing Exeter beat it.

Sidmouth, meanwhile, were scoring less than half of that to beat Plymouth and pick up 19 points to go to the top of the table, leapfrogging Bovey Tracey who drew with North Devon.

Plymouth won the toss and elected to bat on a surface that has yet to properly consolidate in its first year staging premier league matches.

Jasper enjoyed early success, a wicket falling to his third delivery and he was to strike again with the score on 21.

Greg Chaplin took over from Jasper and seemed over his radar malfunctions of recent weeks to take 1-20. Problems really started for Plymouth when spinners Miles Dalton and Charlie Miles got to work.

Dalton took 4-24 and Miles 3-37 as Plymouth were dismissed for 146, failing by two to use their 50-over entitlement. A neat stumping by Robbie Powell off Miles ended the innings.

The vagaries of the pitch meant beating the Plymouth total was no formality and at 67-4, the outcome was far from certain. Ollie Pyne and Dalton’s stand of 77 for the fifth wicket changed the face of the game.

The former had completed a half century when he was out with the score on 144, leaving Dalton to reach 35 not out with the winning boundary.

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