Sidmouth 1sts lead increases despite draw

COMPETITION in sport takes on an added dimension tomorrow when Sidmouth entertain their nearest rivals, geographically speaking, Budleigh Salterton.

COMPETITION in sport takes on an added dimension tomorrow when Sidmouth entertain their nearest rivals, geographically speaking, Budleigh Salterton in the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League premier division.Budleigh have not yet fired on all cylinders this season and are well adrift in the title race, but local bragging rights are on a par with points in this fixture. And the visitors will be keen to end a poor run of results against Sidmouth over the past year or so.A draw, with scores equal, at Plympton on Saturday could have hindered Sidmouth's charge to a second championship in consecutive years but, with second-placed Bovey Tracey losing to Bradninch, the Fort Field side saw their lead increase to 42 points.The prospect of a free-scoring game receded after Plympton lost early wickets when Scott Barlow struck the stumps twice, albeit with assistance from the batsmen's equipment.After consolidating with a third wicket stand of 56, Plympton suffered two blows, landed by Neil Hancock, to again take the fluency out of the innings.With Will Murray sending down 14 overs for 29 runs, Plympton were kept in check and it wasn't until the last 10 overs, with six wickets intact, that they started to step up the rate.A couple of chancy runs were punished with direct hit dismissals by Hancock and Nick Gingell. Hancock took the seventh wicket in the final over but his last ball, a full toss, disappeared over the mid wicket boundary for six to set Sidmouth a target of 179 to win.There was enough inconsistency in the pitch to make this far from a cakewalk and Anthony Griffiths departed at 22, to be followed at 45 by fellow opener Josh Bess. Hancock and Chris Williams added 61 for the third wicket before the latter succumbed to a catch behind, soon to be joined back in the pavilion by Sam Richardson.This brought in Nick Gingell, who showed rare restraint to hold the reply together as wickets fell regularly. Hancock's departure, bowled for 53 by Arwyn Jones, was confirmed only after long consultation between the umpires who wanted to establish that it was the ball that dislodged a bail.Matt Cooke and Barlow were unable to add many to the total and Sidmouth arrived at the last over needing 14 to win with three wickets in hand.Ball one from Jones was patted back by Gingell. The next, a full toss, got its just deserts and sped over the boundary. Ball three was driven strongly and ricocheted off a fielder's knee over the boundary.Two were taken off the fourth ball, but, going for an ambitious second off the fifth, Murray was run out and only one run accrued. Three were needed off the final ball for victory but a comfortable two, taking Gingell to 33 not out, was all that was possible, so the scores ended equal and the points shared 13 to Plympton and 12 to Sidmouth.

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