Sidmouth up for league and cup double

SIDMOUTH look to complete a league and cup double tomorrow when they travel to Exmouth for the final match of the Francis Clark Devon Premier season, writes John Goodwin.

Playing on home turf, they retained the Devon Senior Cup in convincing fashion on Sunday and need eight points from tomorrow’s encounter to be sure of the title.

Man of the match Josh Bess steered Sidmouth to their 99-run cup final win over Bovey Tracey with a half century, three wickets and three slip catches.

He and Anthony Griffiths did the hard work of providing a platform for Sidmouth to total 180 which was to prove more than plenty.

On a rain-affected Fort Field pitch which did not favour fluent batting, Bess got together with Griffiths when Sidmouth, having won the toss and chosen to bat, were rocking at 11-2 in the sixth over.

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The pair knuckled down to put together a patient 88-run stand ended when Griffiths turned down a single wanted by Bess who could not turn and regain his ground in time to avoid being run out.

Josh’s brother, Luke, joined Griffiths and stroked a brisk 23 in a 59-run stand that gave Sidmouth impetus in the final 10 overs.

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Griffiths eventually perished, sixth man out, for 66 as he sought to embellish what had already become a challenging score at 167.

Sidmouth’s recovery may have been assisted by the inability of Devon captain Chris Bradley, whose shoulder began troubling him, to bowl a full quota of overs.

Before Bradley retreated from the attack after two overs Josh Bess struck a six off him. Griffiths clouted maximums off Matt Kidd, who suffered most in the final onslaught, and Dillon Mullins.

A five-ball 11 from Nick Gingell got the score to 180-6, the enormity of which was not to become apparent until Bovey batted.

A five-ball 11 from Nick Gingell got the score to 180-6, the enormity of which was not to become apparent until Bovey batted.

In the fifth over of the reply Bess took a low catch off Will Murray to dismiss Peter Bradley and in the next over drew a cheer founded in jubilation and relief when he bowled former Sidmouth all-rounder Neil Hancock, who had offered a difficult catch to Gingell at slip a couple of balls earlier. The same over Bess bowled Ben Ayres to make it 12-3.

With Bess snaffling every edge offered to him at slip off Murray and wicketkeeper Robbie Powell acrobatically holding an inside nick from Andy Fairbairn, Bovey slumped to 24-6.

The contest was already over when Powell stumped Jamie Fulner to give Murray figures of 4-20 off his eight overs.

Bess finished with 3-21 leaving Sam Anderson to administer the coup de grace with 3-14 as Bovey were dismissed for 81 in 27.3 overs.

Last man out Sam Wyatt Haines had battled 48 balls for a top score of 22 until he was caught by Griffiths.

Geoff Coish, Francis Clark Devon League secretary and Bovey’s scorer on the day, asked his opposite number, Di Wadsworth, to present the trophy to Murray in a mark of respect to her cricket enthusiast husband, John, who died in the close season.

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