Sidmouth land another Devon Premier Division title on thrilling final day of the 2018 season
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Sidmouth lifted the Devon Cricket League Premier Division top honour for the seventh time in 11 years after a 70-run win at Exmouth.
The Fortfield men had begun the final day sitting second and knew only a win at Exmouth would see them lift the title if morning leaders Heathcoat lost their home meeting with relegation threatened Sandford.
Skipper Luke Bess won the toss and opted to bat first, but saw Dec Lines run out with the score on nine.
Skipper Bess was next man in – and out, but not before he had helped Josh Bess add 50 runs for the second wicket, which fell with the score on 59.
Matt Cooke stuck around to help Bess see the visitors into three figures before Cooke fell for 23 and, when Henry Gater was out for 29, Bess was still there and Sidmouth were 151-4.
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Nick Gingell, batting at number six, joined Bess and the pair saw their side to maximum batting points, taking the score to 254 before Gingell fell for 54.
Scott Barlow came and went, bowled for two, before Josh Bess’s wonderful inning finally came to and end with him being caught by Bob Dawson, playing his final 1st XI game having announced his retirement from 1st XI cricket. Bess scored 134 from 134 deliveries hitting 16 fours and one six.
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Will Murray (6) and Tom Wainwright (0) were the not out batsmen as Sidmouth closed on 288-7.
When Exmouth began their run chase they got a half century start before Charlie Miles struck courtesy of a Max Hancock catch. Thirteen runs were added before a Will Murray catch off young Hancock’s spin bowling ended the final 1st XI innings of Bob Dawson.
Charlie Miles picked up his second wicket before a quick-fire double for Will Murray left Exmouth 130-5.
The sixth wicket rallied the home effort, but, with the score on 198, it was ended by Murray and, just a couple of runs later, Hancock bagged a second wicket, ending the fine innings of Dan Pyle (81). The final three wickets added just 189 runs as Matt Cooke picked up two wickets and young Hancock got his third and Exmouth were bowled out for 218 from 43.1 overs.
News then filtered through that Heathcoat had beaten Sandford and the celebrations of yet another Devon League title could begin!
Hancock finished with figures of 3-41 from nine overs and the Murray return was 3-51 from 10. Matt Cooke (2-49) and Charlie Miles (2-33) were the other wicket takers.
With Hatherleigh and Bradninch going down, Sidmouth will begin the defence of their title in eight months’ time with Paignton and Torquay stepping up from the A Division.