Sidmouth set for crunch title meeting with Torquay

Sidmouth's Liam Lewis and Matt Cooke talk tactics. Ref shsp 1610-31-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth's Liam Lewis and Matt Cooke talk tactics. Ref shsp 1610-31-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth banked 19 points from a narrow nine-run win over Paignton.

Sidmouth set things uop nicely for this weekend’s top-of-the-table clash with the only team to sit above them in the Premier Divison, Torquay, by banking 19 points from a narrow nine-run win over Paignton.

Despite the heavy Friday rain another wonderful Fortfield track produced a game of over 550 runs.

Sidmouth batted first and Matt Cooke and Liam Lewis put on 132 for the first wicket in 26.3 overs. Lewis departed to a catch for a 91-ball 11 boundary 65. Cooke had just past another half century when Lewis departed. Next man in was Pete Randerson and he and Cooke added 75 in just under 13 overs before Randerson fell for run-a-ball knock of 47. Cooke was unbeaten on 78 when the second wicket fell and he went on to chalk up that memorable maiden league 1st XI century before he became the third wicket to fall. Cooke was caught having been at the wicket for 161 minutes during which time he faced 115 balls, scoring a dozen fours and two sixes in his innings of exactly 100. Jake Fawcett had joined Cooke after the fall of Randerson and he went on to register a quick-fire 38 before he fell. Anthony Griffiths and Dan Powell both fell cheaply and the Sidmouth innings closed on 283-6.

The Paignton reply was hit by the loss of two wickets with just 13 on the board as Sidmouth skipper Will Murray and New Zealander Andrew Mathieson each claimed a wicket. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals and, at 153-7 after 33.2 overs, it looked very much as if the home side would be celebrating a 10th win in 13 matches.

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However, Paignton duo Yates and Shergold had other ideas and they had put on 80, taking the visitors to within 50 runs of an unlikely victory when Yates was caught by Fawcett off the bowling of Nick Gingell (1-32 from two overs).

That was still not the end of the Paignton effort as their number ten bat Hearn joined Shergold and they had taken the reply to within nine runs of the home score when the final delivery was bowled.

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Victory then for the Fortfield side and skipper Will Murray said: “We rang the changes with the bowling as every point may well prove vital. We got one wicket, but the other one eluded us. It looks like Paignton got close – and they were a little closer than I would have liked. However, with Andy Mathieson to bowl the last over, and 16 needed to win, I was never too worried.”

Connor Bryan, the Paignton captain, said his team couldn’t have played much better.

“I couldn’t have asked any more of the lads,” said Bryan.

“Sidmouth batted really well and showed maturity throughout there innings.

“They got off to a flyer through Lewis and Cooke. However, I thought the boys showed grit and determination in the field to claw it back in the last 25 overs.

“Our innings did not start well, losing a couple of quick wickets.

“Dan Wolf showed class during his innings and I am sure has turned a few heads in the way of Devon selectors.

“Yates and Shergold got us up to a score which was ever so close to winning the game.”

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