Seamers give Sidmouth hope

FORMER Sidmouth player Scott Barlow returned to the Fort field with his new club Budleigh Salterton and turned in a fine all-round performance to help his team to victory in the East Devon derby, writes Fionn Wardrop.

With showers forecast, Budleigh won a good toss and put Sidmouth in to bat. Devon team-mates Barlow and James Burke took the new ball and caused Sidmouth problems with some accomplished swing bowling. Josh Bess was first to depart, well caught by Barlow in the gully when pushing hard at a Burke away swinger.

Anthony Griffiths followed, clean bowled by an excellent yorker from Burke. Neil Hancock arrived at number four and survived a very good shout for lbw first ball as Burke repeated his yorker. Hancock was unable to capitalise and snicked Barlow to keeper Sandy Allen shortly afterwards, departing without scoring.

At this point, Sidmouth were 19-3, 15 overs had been consumed and trouble loomed. Sidmouth number three Ben Gledhill dug in and battled hard, finding a durable ally in Saj Patidar. Together this pair put the Sidmouth innings back on the rails, adding 66 for the fourth wicket.

Gledhill batted on to reach 58, which was a decent effort. In typical Aussie fashion, he looked especially comfortable when the ball was pitched short and produced a couple of excellent pull shots. Unfortunately, he wasn’t given the support he deserved as a series of team-mates came and went, with only Jamie Wardrop (15) and Will Murray (16) hanging around for any length of time. The Sidmouth innings closed on 160 when Murray was run out in the final over.

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Whilst this total looked about 40 runs short of what it ought to have been, the tea-time talk was all about getting a good start and removing Budleigh’s top three, who are all Devon players, quickly.

A shower during the break and some lingering dark clouds produced conditions conducive to seam bowling and the Sidmouth opening bowlers revelled in them.

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Bess took the new ball and ran down the hill to bowl to Sandy Allen. A good length first ball, pitched wide of off stump was left by Allen, who looked on in horror as it jagged back and clipped the top of his off-pole. James Burke was the next batsman to the crease and quickly got a reprieve when Bess found his outside edge and the chance was spilled at second slip.

Will Gater bowled up the hill and caused significant problems for the batsmen, beating the edge on several occasions. Gater was involved in the second wicket but this time as a fielder, hanging on to a skier at fine leg when Burke tried to hook a Bess bouncer. He then struck as a bowler, clean bowling Bob Dawson with a perfectly pitched yorker and following up by finding Neil Murrin’s edge to have him caught in the cordon. Budleigh were on their heels at this point, 48-4 with all of their star batsmen back in the pavilion.

Sidmouth were now favourites and the Budleigh all-rounders opted to counter-attack. This prompted a change of fortune for the visitors, as the sun came out and the ball stopped swinging. With conditions back in favour of the batsmen, some sweetly struck boundaries started to shift the balance of power.

The aggressive style of batting was always going to present a chance at some point and the pivotal moment came when Barlow skied a slog-sweep. A mix-up between fielders Bess and Fionn Wardrop allowed the ball to fall safely and Barlow was spared. He was only on 12 at this point and progressed his innings to 34 before Will Murray got his man. During this time he had added 53 with Charlie Morris and a further 33 with Joel Murphy, breaking the back of the run chase. Murphy batted on to reach 30 not out and secure victory for Budleigh.

After a flying start by the opening bowlers, Sidmouth failed to capitalise and, in conceding 39 extras in the Budleigh innings, made life significantly easier for the visitors than it ought to have been.

A trip to Paignton comes next and an improved all-round performance will be required to stay within reach of the pacesetters in the Francis Clark Devon League Premier Division.

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