Plastic predators can't change the weather

A PLASTIC peregrine falcon and heron played their part in helping Sidmouth Cricket Club play at least part of a game when none of the other games in the Francis Clark Devon League Premier Division got under way.

A PLASTIC peregrine falcon and heron played their part in helping Sidmouth Cricket Club play at least part of a game when none of the other games in the Francis Clark Devon League Premier Division got under way.The birds were obtained to try and dissuade the town's seagull population from congregating on the cover and puncturing it with their beaks.Plenty of holes were already in the cover when the bird effigies were deployed and, to groundsman Colin Whitehall's surprise, they appear to work.The gulls swoop around the ground, but do not land on the cover and appear to be most intimidated by the heron.This repelling of the gull menace meant the cover protecting the pitch retained some effectiveness in the damp lead-up to last Saturday's home fixture against Torquay.The match began on time with Torquay reflecting their current ills following a close season emigration of players, by fielding only 10 men.On winning the toss they inserted Sidmouth, but openers Anthony Griffiths and Simon Sobczak subdued any early threat and compiled an opening stand of 64 before the latter was run out for 32 by a direct hit.Matt Cooke, benefiting from some misjudgments by boundary fieldsmen as he lofted the ball, went on to make 69, his score containing some distant hits. He provided the Torquay wicketkeeper with a routine stumping and shortly after Griffiths, who had moved calmly on to 78, perished lbw to bring Neil Hancock and Trent Ovens to the crease.They pushed the score to 234-3 off 48 overs when skipper Will Murray declared.Any hopes of tearing into the vulnerable looking Torquay line-up were washed away by rain which swept across the ground at tea. Nevertheless Sidmouth picked up five batting bonus points on a day when other sides had to be content with just the six for abandoned games.Tomorrow Sidmouth cannot expect easy points when they travel to one of the division's strongest sides, Sandford. The reciprocal 2nd XI game is at the Fort Field while the 3rd XI travel to Shobrooke Park.


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