Sidmouth's Griffiths hits high scoring form
OBSERVERS of the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League scene are tipping Sidmouth to retain their championship.
OBSERVERS of the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League scene are tipping Sidmouth to retain their championship after four straight wins have seen them open up a 23-point gap at the top of the table before May is out.But the side would be the first to admit that they have yet to be fully tested - something that could change tomorrow when they host Bovey Tracey who, despite a defeat last week to North Devon, have acclimatised reasonably well to Premier Division life after promotion.In South African Farhaan Behariden they have one of the league's most reputable overseas players who has already made significant contributions with both bat and ball. He is surrounded by a sound squad who have worked at their game to negotiate the transition from A Division to Premier.However, they will have viewed Sidmouth's nine-wicket disposal of Plymouth last week with some foreboding. Sidmouth's seam battery was reinforced by the addition of Somerset summer contract holder Adam Dibble, who will again be available tomorrow thanks to having no school commitments because of the half-term holiday.He was among the wicket-takers as Plymouth were restricted to 201-9 in their 50 overs. Three-wicket hauls went to skipper Will Murray and Neil Hancock and a brace to Scott Barlow.Late order resistance by experienced David Burke, with 31, ensured the city side registered maximum batting points and, when he was bowled by Hancock, the last pair denied Sidmouth a fifth bowling point.It soon became clear that the total was well short of par on Peverell Park pitch and quickening outfield as Josh Bess and Anthony Griffiths got the reply under way and put 91 up before the former was caught in the deep.Chris Williams joined Griffiths and they shared in an unbroken winning stand. Griffiths moved comfortably to 86 not out and Williams was unbeaten on 66 as the winning target was reached with six overs spare.Griffiths was to follow this up with 124 the following day, masterminding a win in a run feast friendly against Chard. The Somerset side made 274 and Sidmouth passed the target with two balls to go in the 40-over game.l While Sidmouth 2nd XI matched the first team's four consecutive wins, they didn't have it all their own way in the reciprocal league match at the Fort Field on Saturday.The seam attack of Mark Jasper, Will Gater and Greg Chaplin was wicketless and an 11-ball over, littered with wides and no-balls from Gater, gave Plymouth a handy start to their innings which reached 77 before the first wicket fell.It all disintegrated with the introduction of spin from Charlie Dibble and Miles Dalton. Dibble took 5-66 and Dalton 4-28 as Plymouth failed to last their 50 overs and were dismissed for 175.Sidmouth were grateful for Simon Sobczak making 47 at number four after openers Saj Patidar and James Macey went cheaply. Will Gater's 25 kept the runs coming but there was a hiccup with the fourth and fifth wickets falling at 110 and 111. Graham Munday made 13 not out as he partnered Dalton, who made an unbeaten 27, to steer Sidmouth home to a four-wicket win and 20 points. The haul enabled Sidmouth to stay one point adrift of Exeter who hold top spot.l As runs flowed at the Fort Field on Sunday Zach Bess emerged with credit, taking 3-27 as Chard made hay. Jack Hodge, in the next generation of Sidmouth seamers, also took two wickets.But the formidable 275 target was eclipsed thanks to Griffiths' 124 and Sobczak's 86. The pair figured in a 172-run stand for the second wicket. Matt Cooke struck the winning runs as he moved on to 22 not out.l Mike Dibble followed up his 66 in the 3rd XI league game on Saturday with 67 to help Sidmouth to a seven-wicket win over tourists Collingbourne on Monday. Cooke made 56 and Murray struck 54 as the home side won by seven wickets with seven overs to spare.Griffiths, with enough runs under his belt over the previous two days, played as a bowler and was one of three to take a brace as Collingbourne were held to 218-7.Sidmouth 3rd XI broke their record total when they scored 344 for 2 off their allotted 50 overs against Shobrooke Park last Saturday at Bicton. They dismissed the visitors for 162 to win by 182 runs and secure 20 points to maintain a comfortable mid table position.Sidmouth captain Mike Dibble won the toss and elected to bat but the decision wasn't just taken for cricketing reasons! With no supporters or helpers in attendance, the Sidmouth players had to do the kitchen duties and lay out the tea! Both Dibble and Tom Bowring appeared not to be keen to help so an opening partnership of 224 kept them well away from the kitchen! Bowring made an excellent maiden century and was especially strong on the off side. This made up for the time Anthony Griffiths declared the Sidmouth innings during a midweek game when he was not out in the nineties! Bowring was last seen celebrating his success on Saturday night when he appeared to be losing count of the number of jugs he was buying!Dibble was the first wicket to fall when run out following a mix up for 66. This brought Zak Bess to the crease and he played a superb innings of 65 not out. Bowring was eventually out for 136 when adjudged LBW. Ashley Caldwell was the other undefeated batsman on 6 not out.The Shobrooke reply was soon in trouble as Bess bowled one opening batsman and Caldwell ran out the other who was going for a suicidal single to backward point. Martyn Dean helped Tyran Le Roux get amongst the wickets with a razor sharp stumping and then Charlie Miles added an LBW, a full toss that was caught at extra cover and a bowled. Bess came back to bowl the dangerous Reddick and Dave Gibson, on his seasonal debut following injury, bowled two players to finish the job off. Bess ended with 3 for 47, Le Roux 1 for 27, Miles 3 for 42 and Gibson 2 for 13. The only wicketless bowler was Mark Smallacombe, who was making his first appearance for a couple of years. He bowled well, sending down eight overs for 23 runs and he will be a valuable addition to the team in the forthcoming weeks.l This Saturday the 3rd XI visit table-topping Paignton 2nd XI in what will be a stiff test. Fortunately the match falls during the half term break which will hopefully mean a stronger side can once again be assembled.