Sidmouth hit top spot after win at table-topping Exeter

James Bovey is short of his ground as a throw comes in to Sidmouth wicket keeper cameron Evans-Grain

James Bovey is short of his ground as a throw comes in to Sidmouth wicket keeper cameron Evans-Grainger to run the Exeter batsman out. Picture GERRY HUNT - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth 1st XI defeated the side that started the day as leaders of the Premier Division, beating the County Ground side on their own turf by a margin of three wickets.

Exeter won the toss and opted to bat, but a catch by wicketkeeper Cameron Evans-Grainger off the bowling of Josh Bess saw an early end to Ben Green, the Somerset and England Under-19 player, out for five with the score on 19.

It was soon 34-2 and then 36-3 as another catch by the glovesman – this time off Aviwe Mgijima – and a first wicket of the afternoon for Will Murray did the damage.

The fourth wicket doubled the home total, but the partnership was ended by a leg before decision in favour of Matt Cooke and half the home side were back in the County Ground pavilion with 110 on the score board – the fifth wicket falling to a catch by Charlie Miles off Matt Cooke. A Henry Gater-inspired run out accounted for the sixth Exeter wicket and seventh fell to a Murray leg before.

A Nick Gingell catch off Charlie Moles and two further wickets for Mgijima – one, a third catch behind by wicketkeeper Evans-Grainger and the other a catch held by Will Murray – and the home team were bowled out for 165 with the final wicket falling two balls into the 50th and final over of the innings.

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In terms of the bowling returns, Aviwe Mgijima’s figures were the best with 3-25 from 9.2 overs.

There were two wicket hauls for Will Murray (2-18 from 10) and Matt Cooke (2-36 from eight) and single wickets for Josh Bess (1-44 from 10) and Charlie Miles (1-27 from 10). The other bowler used was Luke Bess, who sent down two overs (0-14).

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If the travelling Fortfield faithful thought they’d see a run chase ‘stroll’ by their favourites then they were in for a rude awakening for the reply was quickly in a mess at five for three!

Matt Cooke was first to go, caught behind off Tom Pedel to the very first ball he received. Luke Bess fell in similar fashion, in his case to his seventh ball, this one sent down by Philip Mecredy and, when Aviwe Mgijima was clean bowled first ball by Mecredy, Sidmouth were 5-3. Crucially, opener Josh Bess was still there and he and Dec Lines began to get their side back into the game as they added 47 for the fourth wicket with Lines scoring 26 from 31 deliveries with four fours and a six before he was sent back.

Elliott Rice then scored a two boundary 14 to help add 30 for the fifth wicket, but, with his departure, half the Sidmouth side were out and the total was only half of what was required at 82-5.

Henry Gater scored a 27-ball 20, but when he fell, with Bess still there, the score was 128-6 and it was soon 133-7 with the loss of Nick Gingell, caught for four.

That brought experienced campaigner Will Murray to the wicket.

Having Murray at nine has often been a catalyst to turning a difficult situation into a winning one and so it was to be again as he stayed with Bess to see the opener to an unbeaten half century and Murray was not out 22 from 21 deliveries and Sidmouth sealed a three wicket win with almost 16 overs to spare.

Josh Bess carried his bat from the first delivery through to the conclusion. He faced 91 deliveries and hit seven fours and one six.

The win sees Sidmouth to the top of the table at the one-third mark of the Premier Division campaign.

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