Sidmouth win Devon's indoor crown

DISCIPLINED bowling was the key to Sidmouth taking the Devon Indoor Cricket crown for the first time.

DISCIPLINED bowling was the key to Sidmouth taking the Devon Indoor Cricket crown for the first time.In the semi final and final at Ashmoor Sports Centre, Ashburton, their respective opponents, Bovey Tracey and Cornwood, both conceded more no-balls and wides than the margin of Sidmouth's victories.But the triumph was very much a team effort with opening batsmen Anthony Griffiths and Matt Cooke making the retirement score of 25 in both matches and returning to the crease to boost the Sidmouth totals.Some splendid fielding and catching, which was a feature of the play from all four sides in the six-a-side competition, ensured their opponents had to struggle to break free of the shackles. And with Scott Barlow, Graham Munday, Miles Dalton and Cooke sending down very few loose balls, those shackles were firmly applied.Sidmouth made 145-4 from their 12 overs in the final against Cornwood with the innings getting a significant boost when number six Scott Barlow came to the crease. With a volley of sixes and fours he reached 20 in a few balls before succumbing to a direct hit run out from Ben Warren, who was to repeat his accuracy a couple of balls later to remove John Goodwin.Those dismissals brought Griffiths and Cooke back into the hall and they continued the final assault, although another Cornwood throw dislodged the bails as Griffiths scampered in at the non-striker's end. Umpire Chris Shelton ruled that the throw had hit the protruding base of the wicket rather than the stumps, enabling Griffiths to reach an unbeaten 46. Cooke finished on 38 not out. Twenty-five extras helped the Sidmouth cause.Cornwood had three batsmen reach the retirement score of 25, but they were always just off the pace and without the extra boost - Sidmouth conceded only five - eventually ran out of steam at 131-4.It was very much bodies on the line to save runs and overthrows and, when Barlow flung a wayward rocket, Cooke flung his frame at the missile and now proudly shows the bruise to anyone interested. The semi-final followed a similar pattern after Sidmouth reached 122, Griffiths making 27 and Cooke 32. Despite conceding 20 plus extras, Bovey were confident this could be passed but suffered a run out and stumping to be 12-2. Two diving catches, one to his right and one to his left, by Griffiths kept the pressure on Bovey but Ben Elphick and Andy Fairbairn led the recovery, both making 25. Elphick's return to the crease was brief, but Fairbairn took the match to Sidmouth, making 46 before being run out. His dismissal left the last man with too much to do and he was bowled by Barlow with the score on 105. Again, conceding a slim extras total served Sidmouth well.Now Sidmouth move on to meet Somerset champions Sampford Arundel, again at Ashburton, on Sunday, February 24, and this is a qualifier for the regional stage of the competition at Taunton on March 2.The domestic competition at Sidmouth Sports Hall, featuring Sidmouth, Exmouth, Ottery St Mary, Tipton St John, Newton Poppleford, Clyst Hydon, Axminster and Yarcombe and Stockland, continues on Sunday with three matches starting at 10am

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