Stunning catch turns cup match Sid's way

THE mouths of the Rivers Sid and Plym are to meet to see who speaks the loudest in Devon cup cricket on Sunday August 30.

THE mouths of the Rivers Sid and Plym are to meet to see who speaks the loudest in Devon cup cricket on Sunday August 30.

Last Sunday, Sidmouth and Plymouth both convincingly won through to the final of the Tony Pryce Sports Devon Senior Cup, to be staged at Sandford.

Sidmouth, inserted by home side Bovey Tracey on a spin-friendly pitch, made a respectable 187-5, but the visitors were unsure how secure this total would be, bearing in mind their attack was seamer-dominated.

Bovey, like Sidmouth, lost one of their openers early in the innings and this brought to the crease Shahid Yousaf, who, the previous day, had clubbed 82 of the 105 Bovey needed to beat Plymouth.

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The Indian Cricket League youngster quickly showed his intentions by striking Neil Hancock for one four over mid wicket and another over extra cover. Fielders were placed to guard against these shots but Yousaf accepted the challenge and struck another lofted extra cover drive that was destined for six had Anthony Griffiths not sprinted to his right and grabbed the ball above his shoulder.

If a Man of the Match award was available, it would have gone to Griffiths for this game-turning effort, combined with the 62 he contributed to Sidmouth's total.

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The Bovey reply never recovered from this blow and Sidmouth's seamers found it was not only spinners who could reap reward from the pitch, bowling the home side out for 114.

Scott Barlow benefited from an alert piece of stumping by Marc Jenkins who later held a difficult chance off Will Murray.

A sharp one-handed return catch by Murray helped him to figures of 4-21 and, apart from the drop of a difficult chance in the deep by Matt Cooke, the Sidmouth fielding was top drawer.

Cooke was to get among the wickets with his spin when Nick Gingell took a sprawling chance at mid-off and an lbw appeal was upheld. The tone of the game was a little soured by the reluctance of a couple of Bovey players to leave the crease when the finger was raised.

There was little dispute about the five Sidmouth wickets to fall, notably that of opener Gingell who confidently clipped his first ball off his legs from Yousaf for two but was quickly undone by a delivery that left him after pitching to hit the top of off stump.

This brought Chris Williams in who blunted Yousaf's barbs before falling lbw playing no shot to spinner Pete Bradley for 19. Hancock passed 50 in a crucial stand of 103 with Griffiths and some sprints between the wicket at the close by Sam Richardson and Simon Sobczak boosted the total. Richardson went to the crease after Griffiths' demise, having been out first ball in his last two innings. When he staved off the hat-trick it brought about the second loudest cheer of the day from the away camp.

It was to be eclipsed by the celebrations that ensued after the dismissal of Yousaf.

Sidmouth, who need just three points from tomorrow's visit to North Devon to retain the Francis Clark Devon League championship, will now be striving to complete the double which eluded them last year when they paid the price for a below par performance in the cup final against Sandford.

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