Sidmouth bag opening game success at home to Seaton

Sidmouth Cricket Club at The Fortfield

Sidmouth Cricket Club at The Fortfield - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth officials are waiting to find out if the result of their game against Seaton on the Fortfield will count or be expunged from the record, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Sidmouth were never going to lose after amassing 226 for nine in a rain-reduced allocation of 26 overs, but the weather just would not leave the game alone.

Midway through the 13th over of Seaton’s reply, the rain came down again and even more overs started being lost at the rate of one every three and half minutes.

Seaton were 20 for two when umpires Ray Allen and Tim Chapman took the teams off to wait for a break in the weather.

By now the clock was ticking down to the point where the game could not resume as there was insufficient time to bowl the 20 overs required to meet league regulations on what constitutes a game.

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Sidmouth captain Zak Bess just wanted to play and opposite number Ben Morgan was prepared to go along with him.

The umpires said going back out was not an option under league rules, but they were prepared to play on until 7pm and let competition bosses rule on the validity of the game.

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Sidmouth went on to win by 173 runs, which is worth 19 points if the result is allowed to stand. Umpire Allen submitted a report to league secretary David Sheppard, which was waiting for him first thing on Monday morning.

Anthony Griffiths, the Sidmouth secretary, said it was difficult for him to comment as he was not on the ground at the time.

“What I would say is that league officials have done a brilliant job organising some competitive cricket for teams as it seemed for a long time there would not be any,” said Griffiths.

“Clearly players want to play in games, even when they are like competitive friendlies, and the umpires showed common sense by extending the game the way they did.

“The important thing this season is to keep people playing cricket and it seems to be thanks to two sensible captains and the actions of the umpires that’s exactly what happened in this instance.

“Whatever the league decide, we will accept.”

Seaton skipper Ben Morgan said: “Zak’s [Sidmouth skipper Zak Bess] view was we have waited months to play some cricket because of Covid-19 and the very first league game looks like being abandoned. The umpires made it clear what the rules were, but said they understood the desire to play cricket.

“What was suggested was that we extend the game to 7pm and finish then, whether we had bowled 26 overs or not. The umpires also said it would be up to the league to decide whether the result would stand, but in their opinion it would not.

“There was no way we were going to win the game from where we were as we were more than 200 runs behind at the time.

“I said to our lads we would go out and treat it as a net with good bowling and fielders.

“Umpire Allen said he would send a report to the league first thing Monday morning outlining the circumstances of our game, although he doubted if the result would stand.

“We will be happy to go along with what ever is decided.”

Sidmouth’s top three – Alex Barrow (60), Josh Bess who made 31 after being dropped at slip in the first over, and Luke Bess (46) – got the home side up to 161 for two in the 18th over. Nick Mansfield was 24 not out in the final total.

Seaton skipper Morgan, whose first over went for 13 runs, returned late in the day to bowl four more overs and finish with figures of four for 30.

Seaton were 54 for eight when their time ran out. No one made more than 15. Ollie Pugsley (3-12) pipped Jordan Fowler (2-9) in the Sidmouth bowling stats.

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