Sidmouth’s Fortfield home still serving up Minor Counties Cricket 100 years on!

Devon and Sidmouth skipper Josh Bess

Devon and Sidmouth skipper Josh Bess - Credit: Archant

This coming Sunday (July 6), the Fortfield home of Sidmouth CC plays host to a three-day Minor Counties fixture between Devon and Cheshire.

The fixture comes 100 years after the first time Sidmouth hosted a Minor Counties championship fixture.

A hundred years ago the match between Devon and Monmouthshire on July 13 and 14 at the Fortfield saw a Devon win and this was followed by an equally emphatic innings win over Berkshire at the County Ground, Exeter on July 17 and 18.

Three away games were then played against Berkshire, Monmouth and Dorset in late July and early August, but war was declared on August 4, and, in the following four years, no county cricket took place. The Minor Counties’ Championship began again in summer 1919.

Devon entered the Minor Counties’ Championship in 1901, securing its first championship in 1978 and since then has been the most successful of all the Minor Counties teams, having won the Championship 8 times and the KO Trophy four times.

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FH Carroll scored centuries for Devon in both wins over Monmouthshire and Berkshire and he went on to captain the county.

The current Devon captain is, of course, Josh Bess and he is only the third Sidmouth player to captain the county following in the footsteps of Carroll and Peter Roebuck who played for Sidmouth briefly, and led Devon very successfully in the 1990s.

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Sidmouth has produced a large number of county players since the county’s foundation in the 1860s and re-foundation in 1899.

None has made more of an impact than Liam Lewis this season - he has scored a century and has passed fifty on four occasions in KO games, as well as having made his maiden century in the last three day Championship game against Oxfordshire. Josh Bess has led by example with wickets and runs in each of the seven matches completed.

Sunday sees day one of three days of action at the Fortfield with play beginning at 11am.

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