Sidmouth top of Devon League

BUDLEIGH Salterton’s inability to press home a distinct advantage allowed Sidmouth to go top of the Francis Clark Devon Premier League after a three-run victory, writes John Goodwin.

Defeats for previous leaders Bovey Tracey and chasers Exmouth allowed Sidmouth to leapfrog them both into pole position with three games to play.

But with three overs to go and Budleigh needing 11 to win with three wickets in hand, Sidmouth were staring at defeat.

But Bess brothers Josh and Zach conjured up a series of yorker length balls to cramp the batsmen.

It got down to the final ball with Budleigh needing four to win and Zach settled the issue by bowling Joel Murphy to claim a 5-46 haul.

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Budleigh were chasing Sidmouth’s 203-9 which featured 58 from opener Matt Cooke and 23 from Anthony Griffiths as a recovery was made from Sam Anderson’s early dismissal.

The score reached 72 before Griffiths fell to Matt Plowman and, when Cooke went at 96, a middle order collapse was precipitated.

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Luke Bess took it on himself to hold the innings together with a half century as partners departed regularly to leave Sidmouth on the ropes at 131-8.

Will Murray produced a captain’s innings of 24 not out to help Bess take Sidmouth to 203. Bess was run out on the final ball trying to maximise the total.

Budleigh seemed to have the game in the bag as openers James Burke and Gamindu Amarasinghe compiled a patient stand of 100.

Cooke got a long awaited breakthrough when he bowled Amarasinghe, following up with the wickets of James Hudson and Eliot Rice in quick succession. He proved to be Sidmouth’s most economical bowler, finishing with 3-28.

With Sidmouth’s other spinner, Miles Dalton, not showing his normal control and going for 46 in seven overs, Budleigh were very much in the ascendancy, even when Bess bowled Burke for 74.

Despite Bess’s wickets, Budleigh were in a winning position until those final overs when Murphy and Plowman could not complete a victory that had appeared a formality.

Tomorrow Sidmouth host Bradninch.

A COLLAPSE by Plympton’s middle and late order presented Sidmouth 2nd XI with their first win after two consecutive defeats, writes Fionn Wardrop.

Plympton looked well placed to challenge Sidmouth’s 251-9 when they stood at 161-3 with 17 overs left.

Henry Gater and Nick Mansfield, bowling an inspired second spell, prevented any victory charge and the visitors were dismissed for 215 with five overs remaining.

A tidy boundary catch by Charlie Miles off Gater, who took 2-34, started the Plympton collapse with the demise of Chris Dawe who had made 51. Mansfield, wicketless in his first five-over spell, ended with 4-46.

By then Charlie Dibble, who finished with 2-41, had accounted for Sean Smith after he made 57 at opener and spearheaded the visitors’ reply. Will Gater and Dominic Bess were the other wicket takers.

Sidmouth’s innings was founded on a second wicket stand of 145 between skipper Matt Hewer, who was two short of a century when lbw to Ben Vince, and Saj Patidar who made 54. The only other significant contributor was Jamie Wardrop, with 30.

If they are to regain the top spot in the Francis Clark 2nd XI Premier Division that they occupied for much of the first half of the season, Sidmouth, now in third place, are relying on slip-ups by Bovey Tracey and Exeter. Leaders Bovey are 10 points ahead of Sidmouth and Exeter have a five-point advantage.

Sidmouth travel to Cornwood tomorrow in a bid to close the gap.

GAINING 26 points in three games on Ipplepen who occupy the second promotion spot of the Francis Clark Devon League 2nd XI B Division is probably beyond Sidmouth 3rd XI who continued some prolific scoring performances at Abbotskerswell, writes John Goodwin.

With 92 from Greg Chaplin, 79 from Simon Sobczak and 32 not out from Fionn Wardrop they totalled 246-6 with skipper Graham Munday declaring with three overs of the 46 quota remaining.

It made for an entertaining draw with the home side closing on 231-8 with their last pair at the crease due to having only 10 men. Haydn Crocker held his side together, making 89 not out at number three.

Sidmouth had got a sniff of victory when they took three wickets with the score on 133. Munday struck first in his opening over and Sobczak immediately took two at the other end to make it six down.

That gave the visitors 18 overs to press home their advantage but, despite Sobczak going on to take 4-40, they were denied. Indeed Abbotskerswell were threatening inroads on the Sidmouth total when Dave Palmer and Crocker were compiling an eighth wicket stand of 37.

Sobczak bowled Palmer for 20, leaving a little too much to do for the last wicket pair in the final two overs.

Sidmouth’s innings had started inauspiciously with openers Munday and Anthony Dibble back in the pavilion before double figures had been reached. Sobczak and Chaplin rescued the situation with a stand of 162. Sobczak hit nine fours and a six in a 94-ball innings and Chaplin seven fours and a six in a knock of 84 balls.

Their work gave the following batsmen freedom and Wardrop’s 32 came in 21 balls. In a brief stay Tom Counsell’s eight not out included a six. Chaplin followed up his runs with 2-25 and the other wicket taker was Toby Seldon.

Sidmouth 3rd XI’s guests at Bicton College tomorrow are Bideford.

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