Sidmouth end season as runners-up and Murray bows out with last day fivefer

SIDMOUTH cemented their runners-up spot in the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League Premier Division after getting over some early innings jitters to beat Bovey Tracey, writes John Goodwin.

There was a distinct end of term attitude to the visitors’ performance and they were dismissed for 121 in 34 overs, Will Murray taking 5-58.

He bowled three players with balls that seamed up the Fort Field slope, one starting off wide enough to lull the batsman into offering no stroke.

Nick Gingell pouched a sharp chance at slip to give Neil Hancock the first of his two wickets and the introduction of spin from Miles Dalton and Matt Cooke wrapped up the tail after Ryan Bougourd had offered resistance at number 10 to finish joint top scorer on 20 not out.

Josh Bess, spared the rigours of bowling to keep him fresh for the next four days’ work with Devon in the Minor Counties championship play-off, devoted his energies to batting and made 61 not out as Sidmouth made 122-3 to net 19 points.

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After losing Anthony Griffiths at one, Neil Hancock at 10 and Will Gater at 30, he linked up with Ben Gledhill who made 41 in an unbroken stand of 92 for the fourth wicket. Sidmouth had the match wrapped up in 27 overs.

They finished 32 points behind North Devon and can look back on defeats in the first half of the season as the reason they did not press the new champions harder.

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A first day reverse at Bradninch and squandered opportunity at Bovey Tracey, when victory was there for the taking, saw 20 points lost. North Devon and Tiverton Heathcoat’s last pair held out for draws which, if turned into wins, would have seen another 10 points gained.

Some supporters point to the side being robbed of a home win against Exmouth by the light being judged unsuitable for play, but that episode was offset by Sidmouth being saved in similar circumstances at home to North Devon.

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