Paget and Derryman star as Sidbury defeat closest rivals for divisional honour

Sidbury who sit top of the Tolchards Devon Cricket League H Division East table after five straight

Sidbury who sit top of the Tolchards Devon Cricket League H Division East table after five straight wins in the 2019 campaign. Picture SIDBURY CC - Credit: Archant

Sometimes cricket delivers and, for those lucky enough to be playing for, or supporting, Sidbury at The Millfield on Saturday (July 13) when the league leaders hosted second placed Kilmington 2nds, in a match sponsored by J A Nice, it certainly did, writes Mark Bishop.

The teams have been the dominant pair in the Tolchards Devon League H Division East and have found scoring runs easy this season, so on a good wicket with a fast outfield, it was the assumption that this would be a high scoring, closely fought affair.

However, as anyone who witnessed the following day's incredible scenes at Lords will testify, it is often a low scoring game between two evenly matched sides that provides the most exciting cricket matches.

Sidbury skipper, Alex Paget won the toss and duly elected to bat. All did not go to plan as opening bowlers Dixon and Summers kept a tight line while being well supported in the field, and the Sidbury top order capitulated.

Grove (0) taking on the responsibility of running himself out, Pollard(16) watching casually as his middle stump was removed, Bishop (5) giving slip catching practice and Pyne (13) offering a simple return catch to Summers - the pre match assumption was looking to be far from accurate as Sidbury were wobbling on 38-4.

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Olly Paget was joined by Simon Rowe and the two set about rebuilding the innings, despatching any bad balls to the boundary and settling some of the nerves of their teammates and ever increasing number of supporters, taking the score onto 111 before Rowe (despite the best efforts of Paget to nullify the effect of the dreaded Nelson by hopping around on one leg) became the first of two wickets in an over for Olive, with skipper Alex Paget edging his second ball to Summers at slip without troubling the scorer.

At 112-6, Kilmington smelt blood once again and Sidbury needed a Stokes-like innings from Paget junior and the tail to wag to get near defendable total.

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Foster looked uncharacteristically restrained in his 14, (possibly due to the lack of blood flow to his lower limbs due to him modelling the first pair of 'skinny' cricket trousers!) but the pair added a very useful 45, before Foster departed, bowled by Wills with the score on 167.

When Olly Derryman departed trying to hit Cook into the Mill, the innings closed with Olly Paget not out after a great effort scoring almost half of Sidbury's total of 181 ending unbeaten on 89, his highest league score of the season,

With a total that was below par, Sidbury knew that bowling tight and fielding well was paramount if they were to win the game, but openers Hal and Dave Cook had other ideas, mixing positive stroke play with a bit of good fortune moving the score onto 51 in only the fifth over!

The home crowd had been silenced, among the Kilmington players there was talk of the Cooks 'having a bus to catch' and if win predictor had been in use, Kilmington would have been a fair bet at 95 percent - but, then again, 'it's a funny old game...

When Paget removed Hal Cook for 29, a fired up Bishop uttered (amongst the odd expletives!) the old cricketing adage that: 'one brings two, two brings three', and, sure enough, when Paget removed Dave Cook for 20 and Pyne scooped up a sharp chance from Baker for 9, Kilmington were 70-3, with each wicket being greeted with a primal roar that was probably heard in Sidford from players and spectators alike, and it was game on!

There was always going to be another twist or two and as Olive was joined by Dixon, they set about the bowling from ball one, smashing the ball to all parts of the ground swinging the game back towards Kilmington despite some fielding of the highest order, especially from Armes who put his body on the line in ACL corner on numerous occasions.

When Rowe removed Dixon with the last ball of his eight over spell with the score on 114, the dangerous Olive was still there and the game was in the balance.

The introduction to the bowling attack of Olly Derryman proved crucial, buoyed on by his (now well lubricated) cheerleaders; he bowled a good line and length with variations aplenty and got through the defences Olive to remove him for 47 with the Kilmington score on 129.

The vociferous, partisan, home crowd was now firmly behind Sidbury and when Armes responded to being hit for six by Culley by delivering a yorker of the highest order to knock over the batsman's middle stump and Derryman removed Ralph Cook and Seward in the same over leaving Kilmington reeling at 142-8, Sidbury sensed the chance to seal a memorable victory. Summers and Lavender added a further 15 runs to edge Kilmington close to an unlikely recovery, but when Summers hit a return catch to Pyne for 15 and Wills was stumped by Rowe, the Kilmington innings closed on 157 and Sidbury had won by 24 runs!

Wild celebrations ensued amongst the Sidbury players as victory means they have one hand on the league trophy - 13 points clear with two games in hand, with just five games remaining and the possibility of a league and cup double in their first season back in both competitions.

Winning games you have no right to win, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, is the sign of a great team, and has not been seen at the Millfield for many years, long may it continue.

Ollie Derryman's 3-18 from five overs was outstanding and swung the match back Sidbury's way, but, the Man of the Match award, sponsored by J A Nice of Sidbury, was Olly Paget for an innings of the highest order without which a pretty humiliating defeat could have been on the cards.

On Thursday (July 18), Sidbury travel to Topsham St James to play the next round of the 20/20 cup as the lowest ranked team left in the competition, against a team who play their league cricket three divisions higher, knowing that victory will ensure a place in the semi-finals and on Saturday (July 20) are in league action away to Axminster.

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