Sidmouth let chance slip to close the gap

SIDMOUTH missed a chance to close the gap on Francis Clark Devon League Premier Division leaders North Devon when they lost by three runs at Bovey Tracey, writes John Goodwin.

North Devon lost to Budleigh Salterton but Sidmouth squandered their chance by choking, having got victory in their grasp, when chasing 214 to win.

The crucial moment came in the penultimate over when Will Gater, who had clubbed 18 off one over to get his side in range, called a single to the wicketkeeper and was run out, although there was a body of opinion that it should have been his partner, Will Murray, who should have been dismissed.

It meant Sidmouth needed four off the final over to win, but last man Miles Dalton was bowled second ball.

The match had see-sawed all afternoon with Sidmouth taking the early initiative, having their hosts at 13-3 after six overs as Neil Hancock and Josh Bess used the new ball well.

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Nick Seager and Andy Fairbairn dug in until the former was bowled by Miles Dalton at 52.

An 89-run stand between Fairbairn and Ben Ayres proved valuable for Bovey but Bess's second spell removed the latter for 66 and then accounted for three wickets in quick succession to make it 169-8 and land a five-victim haul.

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But that was the last success for Sidmouth as Ryan Bougourd struck 23 at number 10 and Fairbairn remained unbeaten on 51 after a 118-ball innings that held his side together.

Bess did not last long in Sidmouth's reply but Anthony Griffiths and Ben Gledhill put on 72 for the second wicket.

From then on it was stop and start progress as Sidmouth reached 150-5 with nine overs left.

Griffiths was stumped for 70 to be sixth man out at 175 but Gater, and some shot improvisation by Jamie Wardrop, brought victory in sight. However, that impetuous call for a bye undid all the good work.

Bradninch, conquerors of Sidmouth on the first day of the league season, are the visitors to the Fort Field tomorrow for the first of the reverse fixtures.

?On Sunday Sidmouth defend their Exeter Twenty20 crown at the County Ground, Exeter, playing Budleigh Salterton in the first semi final.

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