Spring in step follows footwear change

Sidmouth Cricket Club: DID troublesome footwear put a spring in the step of the Sidmouth bowling attack, enabling it to dispose of struggling Exmouth in double quick time and remain at the head of the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League premier division?

Sidmouth Cricket Club: DID troublesome footwear put a spring in the step of the Sidmouth bowling attack, enabling it to dispose of struggling Exmouth in double quick time and remain at the head of the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League premier division?

The opening bowler left the field to change his boots after his first over was laced with wides - he sent down 11 deliveries - but was not back in time to resume. The ball was thrown to Neil Hancock who proceeded to take 6-28 in 10 overs as Exmouth were shot out for 61.

He got assistance from Scott Barlow, with 4-25, and, with the game over at 6.35pm, the pair were able to get to Exeter Airport in plenty of time for an evening departure to Norwich for the next day's Devon Minor Counties Knock-out Cup semi-final against Norfolk. They returned triumphant and their roles in the county's cup run make a strong case for them being included in the team for the final against Berkshire on August 6 at Lord's.

Dibble, meanwhile, has this week been representing the West of England in the competition against other regions at Loughborough that provides the evidence for selection of the England under-17 side.

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In Saturday's match, Exmouth inserted Sidmouth on a damp Maer pitch which did not yield runs easily. However, 49 from Josh Bess as opener and 49 from Hancock, going in when the second wicket fell at 52, provided Sidmouth with the opportunity to gain maximum batting points.

They did it with the middle order flourish that has been a feature of several Sidmouth totals this season. Trent Ovens made 32 and Nick Gingell 26 not out to take the score to 204-6.

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Depending on how Sidmouth bowled and fielded, it was not a massive total and, at 16-0 after two overs, nine from Dibble's ill-fated one, Exmouth had got a flying start. Barlow struck in his second over and Hancock then took centre stage.

The pair took two wickets apiece as the Exmouth score stagnated on 35. The seventh wicket came courtesy of a diving, one-handed slip catch by James Macey that ranks among the best of the season to date.

Macey helped administer the coup de grace with a catch off Barlow to remove stubborn number seven Chris Travers for seven in the 23rd over.

Top scorer for Exmouth was extras, with 17. Only Arul Suppiah reached double figures, with 10, and there were five ducks.

The 20 points gained saw Sidmouth move four points ahead of Budleigh Salterton, who took 19 points from their match at Plymouth.

A strong contingent of Sidmouth 2nd XI players were at the closing stages of the Maer game, having completed a quick win at the Fort Field.

Exmouth had the misfortune to be inserted on the wet pitch after losing the toss and were immediately in trouble when Mark Jasper struck with the first ball, James Gingell taking a catch at short mid-wicket.

Steve Fowler got in on the act in his first over and the opening bowlers traded victims as the visitors slumped to 21-5, a run out calmly engineered by Simon Sobczak and Jasper compounding their misery.

Jasper bowled unchanged for 15 overs to finish with 5-48. Fowler and Miles Dalton had a brace apiece as Exmouth reached 100 all out in 32 overs.

There was an ignominious start to the Sidmouth reply with Jamie Wardrop and Matt Cooke both out with the score on five, the latter to a gully catch by Richard Arnold that matched Macey's effort in the 1st XI encounter.

That was the end of Exmouth's joy as Sobczak and Sam Richardson put together a 101-run stand. Victory was sealed with a Richardson six that took him to 64 not out.

Twenty points for Sidmouth, who have a blank Saturday tomorrow, keeps them 16 points ahead of Plympton, who netted a maximum return against South Devon.

Sidmouth 1st XI travel to relegation-threatened Torquay tomorrow and play in the McKinley White Exeter Twenty20 competition at Clyst St George on Sunday.

Additionally, there is a Sunday game at the Fort Field, against Warwickshire Imps, but it is doubtful if a closer finish can be contrived than that in last weekend's friendly match with Taunton Civil Service. Both sides scored 192-9.

Sidmouth, batting first, had runs throughout the order from Josh Bess, his father Graham, Ovens, Louis Talay and Gingell. Ovens was a victim for former Sidmouth player Jon Pike.

The civil servants had a century maker in number four batsman Richard Weekes, but he received minimal support and the last over arrived with two wickets to fall and five runs needed for victory.

After conceding two singles, Gingell induced a stumping for Graham Bess, had two hit off his penultimate ball and then sent down a 'dot'. Gingell, whose scalps included Weekes, finished with 4-43.

By John Goodwin

Sidmouth Cricket Club

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