Sidmouth take on big guns

LEAGUE champions North Devon arrive at the Fort Field tomorrow to face a Sidmouth side fully rehabilitated from the humiliation received at the hands of Plymouth a fortnight ago, writes John Goodwin.

LEAGUE champions North Devon arrive at the Fort Field tomorrow to face a Sidmouth side fully rehabilitated from the humiliation received at the hands of Plymouth a fortnight ago.The recovery was completed with a resounding victory last Saturday over Sandford, one of the big guns in the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League Premier Division.Having shot the home side out for 132, skipper Will Murray coming on second change and taking the first of seven wickets in his opening over, Sidmouth cruised home with 28 overs to spare and nine wickets in hand.Josh Bess, restored as opener, copied his father's score for the second team and younger brother Zak's total in the third team, with 68 in the winning total. He shared an opening stand of 107 with Anthony Griffiths, who made 41, and finished the job off with Matt Cooke.Sidmouth's already handy seam attack was embellished by the presence of Adam Dibble, free of school commitments, and he played a significant part in ensuring Sandford's openers were kept in check. After conceding six in his first over, the next four were maidens and with a wicket in his second spell he finished with 1-32.New ball partner Scott Barlow made the initial breakthrough with the score on 16 and, after seven economical overs and one costing 10 runs, he made way for Murray to take centre stage with his 7-33.Sidmouth's fielding was at its peak and Sandford were dismissed in 44 of the 50 available overs, the final wicket falling to Louis Talay's left arm spin.Sandford's pitch is usually one of the most batsmen friendly around and, to illustrate that the groundsman had not lost his recipe, Sidmouth's top order dipped their bread as the home side tried six bowlers to get back into the game.In the reciprocal game at the Fort Field, Sidmouth 2nd XI 16-year-old Will Gater made an impact on the game with runs and wickets.At the halfway point in Sidmouth's innings, opener James Macey, one of four soft dismissals, was roundly ridiculed for suggesting his side would set a total of 242 in the ritual guess-the-total challenge. Sidmouth at this point were 115-4 and facing former Devon left arm spinner Richard Coupe at his most miserly. The more conservative estimators in the side appeared to be holding sway until Gater arrived at the crease with the score on 197-7 with three overs to go.The youngster proceeded to score off all nine balls he received, three of his hits being distant maximums, to make an unbeaten 29. The foil for his mayhem was Graham Bess, who had wisely and stoutly resisted Coupe to lay the platform for a late assault which saw Sidmouth better Macey's estimate by one run.Sidmouth got just the start they wanted after tea when Mark Jasper uprooted a stump with his fourth ball and Gater got in on the act, courtesy of a catch by his fellow opening bowler at deep backward square, to have Sandford at 32-2.Two full tosses sent down by leg spinner Miles Dalton in an eight-over spell both accounted for wickets and off spinner Charlie Dibble chipped in with a brace. Gater confirmed his claim to be Man of the Match with three more wickets in his second spell to finish with 4-49 as Sandford were dismissed for 133.Sidmouth 2nd XI sit second in their table while the 1st XI are third in theirs.

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