Tested against gritty north Devon
PAIGNTON, who are among the early season strugglers in the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League premier division, provide the stage for Sidmouth to continue consolidating their place among the countys elite clubs tomorrow.
PAIGNTON, who are among the early season strugglers in the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League premier division, provide the stage for Sidmouth to continue consolidating their place among the county's elite clubs tomorrow.But they will be without Somerset bursary holder Adam Dibble, who returns to school commitments after two weeks in the side.The 17-year-old is first and foremost a bowler, but it was his batting that enabled Sidmouth to gain a hard-won draw against champions North Devon. His absence left the selectors with the dilemma of whether they should replace him with a bowler or add another batsman.Sidmouth had laboured to the 150 mark after a calamitous start to their innings but, by straight driving the last two balls of the innings for sixes, Dibble reached 25 and took his side to 165-8.Despite Dibble striking early with his only wicket in the North Devon reply, the visitors got into a winning position but failed to press home their advantage and finished on 151-8. That they reached that total was down to a six hit off the final ball and spectators were left wondering why a more adventurous approach had not been employed earlier.Economic and incisive bowling from Will Murray, with 4-35, and Scott Barlow, 2-35, however, had put the skids under North Devon.A criticism of Sidmouth in recent battles to establish themselves in the premier division has been the inability of the side to put up a fight in adversity, but this draw showed that things could be changing.Put into bat on a Fort Field pitch offering plenty of movement, Sidmouth were quickly three wickets down for five and then 20-4 as Stuart Rhodes and Matt Westaway, not usually front line bowlers, exploited the conditions.Neil Hancock, who made 65, and Nick Gingell, with 27, pulled things round but the middle order was swept away and Sidmouth's hopes of a defendable total looked thin until Dibble delivered his late boost.While the reward for the bowlers came in restricting North Devon, there was a penalty to pay - a one-point deduction for slow over rate which meant Sidmouth took 12 points, rather than 13, from the draw. That kept them in third place in the league.