Sidmouth double champions

A RARE double was completed by Sidmouth Cricket Club when both 1st and 2nd X1s were crowned champions of their respective premier divisions in the Francis Clark Devon League.

A RARE double was completed by Sidmouth Cricket Club when both 1st and 2nd X1s were crowned champions of their respective premier divisions in the Francis Clark Devon League.It's a feat that has been achieved twice before, by Barton in 1987 and Exmouth in 1999.But total domination of Devon cricket in 2009 was two steps too far for Sidmouth and, after defeat in the Devon Senior Cup final the previous week, the side were beaten in the semi-final of the county Twenty20 competition at Torquay on Sunday.Questions about Sidmouth's right to be regarded as true champions in a season so badly rain affected have been raised by rival sides but, in their last league game, they finished victorious against one of the division's stronger sides, Plympton, who were to prove their nemesis next day in the Twenty20 competition.Sidmouth had to travel for their final league game but won the toss and soon found the Plympton pitch to be bowler-friendly.Runs were hard to come by from an opening attack of Scott Barlow and Adam Dibble and became even scarcer when Will Murray took over from the latter. Both opening bowlers took wickets and Plympton laboured to 74-4 after 29 overs.Three more wickets fell in the 80s and only some stolid late middle order resolve saw the home side up to 123-8 after 50 overs. Murray enhanced his claim to be the division's most economical bowler with a 15-over spell costing 23 runs for two wickets.Barlow's 2-40 will see him not far behind, with Louis Talay's 3-39 confirming his place, along with Neil Hancock who did not have bowling duties this week, in the division's top 10 bowlers.Having taken six wickets and gained three bonus points, Sidmouth had done enough to seal the championship. Now they had to show they were rightful champions.The script was promptly torn up by Plympton who had Sidmouth at 85-7, with 53 of them coming from opener Josh Bess. Murray and Barlow picked up the pieces and taped them together in an unbroken eighth wicket stand of 39 to see Sidmouth over the line.l At the Fort Field the 2nd XI championship had a hollow ring to it as Plympton, who could point to being treated worse by the weather gods over the course of the season, soundly beat their hosts.Sidmouth needed two points to be sure of being champions and they reached the 125 to gain them in far from convincing fashion. Matt Cooke and Tom Bowring had departed by the time the score had reached 25, but James Gingell, with 36, and Miles Dalton, with 39, prevented any collapse.They were parted at 114 when Gingell was bowled and one run later Dalton failed to make his ground, responding to a hasty call from Sean Priestley, who shortly after ran himself out.By then the magic 125 had been passed, but six wickets were down and the side scrambled up to 159 thanks to Graham Munday's 14.Sidmouth needed early wickets if they were to defend such a meagre total, but an early slip chance off Steve Fowler was floored and the beneficiary, James Carr, went on to make 71.Priestley completed a personal day to forget by dropping a sitter as Plympton neared victory, which they achieved with 12 overs to spare and three wickets down.

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