Sidmouth extend lead thanks to Paignton

PAIGNTON, visitors to the Fort Field tomorrow, helped their opponents by holding out for a draw last Saturday against North Devon, enabling Sidmouth to start the latest round of games nine points to the good at the top of the Francis Clark Devon League premier division.

The Torbay side come to Sidmouth with their tenure in the premier division still not entirely secure and are sure to be battling for every point, as they did at North Devon by keeping a 10th wicket intact for a record 106-run stand and a draw.

That result yielded 15 points for North Devon and Sidmouth were grateful for Paignton’s resilience because they took only 18 points from their victory at Bovey Tracey, finding it far from easy to overhaul the 110 they bowled the home side out for.

Indeed, with Sidmouth’s reply teetering at 68-6, the outcome was in the balance, but Bovey’s county spinner Chris Bradley had used up all his 18 available overs and seventh wicket pair, Nick Gingell and Will Gater, found things much more comfortable with him out of the attack.

He took 4-19, sending down nine maidens and having only one boundary struck off him, by Josh Bess, as he made an 80-ball 26.

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Gingell made 26 and Gater 16, the latter finishing matters off by pulling a six over mid wicket.

Bovey, who elected to bat on winning the toss, had been dismissed for 110 in 37 overs, the rot starting in the first over sent down by Bess, when he trapped Bradley lbw first ball.

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The dry and dusty Bovey pitch was tailor-made for Bradley’s spin, but Sidmouth’s seamers, particularly Neil Hancock with 5-38 in 15 unchanged overs, found it responsive too.

Bovey had been going at four an over to reach 67-2 before Hancock claimed his first victim, former Pakistani Test player Faisal Iqbal, for 17.

Skipper Will Murray, who had been uncharacteristically expensive in the cup defeat at the same venue two weeks earlier, was back to his usual self, with 11 overs for 23 and one wicket, that of opener Lewis Hammett for 25, to make it 73-4.

As he kept it tight, Hancock picked off wickets at the other end and when his spell was complete, Bess came back to finish matters off with the second ball of his return.

After tomorrow’s league activity, Sidmouth are back in action on Sunday, at Cornwood, in the Devon Twenty/20 finals, meeting Bradninch in the second semi-final, scheduled to start at 1.15pm. Plymouth or Abbotskerswell get the day under way at 10.30am.

Sidmouth will be without Hancock and Bess, who are playing at the Fort Field for Devon against Oxfordshire in a three-day match.

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