Sidmouth off to winning start with victory over Sandford


- Credit: Archant

Sidmouth got their Tolchards Devon League Premier Division campaign off to a winning start as they defeated Sandford by three wickets at a sun-kissed Fortfield.

A feature of the win was the all-round contribution throughout the home side with six of the bowlers used by skipper Luke Bess claiming wickets before, from a ‘troubled’ 126-6, still requiring 61 runs to win, Sidmouth eased home with four complete overs and one ball remaining.

Sandford batted first and the first new ball duties of the league season were given to Will Murray and Thomas Simmons and it was the latter who had the honour of claiming the first league wicket of the new campaign thanks to a catch from wicket keeper Robbie Powell, dismissing one of the openers for one with the score on one! The next wicket added 51 runs before Powell again pouched a catch behind, this time off the club’s overseas player, Zimbabwean Avive Mgijima. It was soon 94-3 with another debut making home player, Ben Sapiecha, claiming his first Sidmouth wicket thanks to a Matt Cooke catch and the fourth Sandford wicket was down to a catch from Thomas Simmons off the bowling of Charlie Miles to leave the visitors 114-4 and no runs were added as a Will Murray caught and bowled left Sandford 114-5.

The lower order managed to add a further 72 with Murray claiming two more wickets thanks to a third catch behind held by Powell and a catch from Henry Gater. Murray topped the bowling figures with his return of 3-17 from 9.3 overs. Matt Cooke also bagged a wicket on his way to figures of 1-53 from 10 overs. Thomas Simmons ended with 2-31 from eight overs while the Mgijima return was 2-33 from nine and the other bowling figure were; Ben Sapiecha (1-15 from two) and Charlie Miles (1-32 from 10) as Sandford were bowled out for 186 with 10 deliveries of their 50 overs remaining.

Matt Cooke was joined by former Budleigh player Elliot Rice, another to make his Sidmouth debut and the pair put on 23 for the first wicket before Cooke fell to a catch for eight. Skipper Luke Bess joined Rice and the pair took the chase into three figures before Bess was trapped leg before for 29. Mgijima was third man down, in his case for an eight ball stay at the crease for six and, when Rice fell for an 84-ball, six boundary 52, the run chase stood at 120-4.

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The wickets of Sapiecha (stumped for four) and Gater (clean bowled first ball), went quickly and, at 126-6, the reply looked a little troubled. However, Robbie Powell joined Nick Gingell and they added 41 for the seventh wicket before Powell was out for 12 to leave Sidmouth 20 runs shy of victory on 167-7 with just three wickets remaining. However, Will Murray joined Gingell and the pair were there as the winning line was crossed after the fifth delivery of the 46th over.

Gingell finished unbeaten on 25 from 46 deliveries and Murray faced 18 balls for his unbeaten 17.

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In other top flight games, reigning champions Bovey Tracey lost at last year’s runners-up, Bradninch, beaten by three wickets with the home team’s overseas player, Zimbabwean Tendai Maruma scoring 95. Hatherleigh banked a maximum 20 points with a six wicket win over North Devon, Exeter defeated Plymouth by a single wicket in a thrilling contest and Exmouth were 20 point winners in their meeting with Heathcoat.

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