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The Sweep 22 Week 1: Cornwood start the season with tight finishes and mixed results.

Updated: Feb 18

Words: Simon Travers


We’re off! First week of the Devon Cricket League season saw a full slate of games and a mixed bag of results. New Head Groundsman Bradley Nicholls and the grounds-keeping team made sure that both Oak and Delamore Park looked stunning and rewarded good cricket. Visitors to the Wood were treated to close finishes for the Firsts and Fourths.

The Firsts welcomed a tough Plymouth 1st XI that they have not beaten in the league in the 21st Century. Plymouth won the toss and elected to bat and two early wickets from Adam Goodliffe challenged the wisdom of that decision at 24/2 after 6 overs. The batting side settled with a 78 partnership between Haffenden and Phillips at a rate of five an over, before Harry Woolway, on Cornwood debut, removed both. Jack Brown picked up 2 wickets and Matt Skeemer another to leave Plymouth 147/7. However, Adam Talbott wrested back the initiative for Plymouth with his first 1st XI 50, scoring 53 from 67 balls with 8 fours and 2 sixes to set the Firsts a target of 232.

The Firsts’ reply stuttered with two wickets lost in the first two overs but Jay Bista was as advertised with a powerful 73 from 78 balls with 3 fours and 5 sixes. Plymouth chipped away at the line-up around him but Robin Dart provided support with 27 from 40 to give the Firsts a shout at 103/5 from 21 overs. Hopes were dented when Bista was caught off Petherbridge, leaving the Firsts identical to the visitors at 147/7. Harry Woolway and George Thompson fought well for an 8th wicket partnership of 53. Thompson attacked while Woolway dropped anchor. Both lost their wickets in consecutive overs and that was enough to leave the Firsts’ run chase close but 18 runs short.

Operation Bounceback for the Thirds started as well as possible with a 104 run victory at the bowl in Babbacombe. Captain Josh Wood led from the front, opening and making an impressive 74 from 107. Lower order support came from Duncan Cumberland (27) and Lloyd Taylor (35*) who both fired faster than a run a ball to put the Thirds 222-8 in 40 overs. Opening pair Alex Passman (8-1-25-3) and Matthew Broadley (8-4-11-2) dashed Babbacombe’s run chase early as they dropped to 34-5. A kind of stalemate then settled as Babbacombe dug in to deny the Thirds full points, but finished 2 runs shy of a 3rd batting point themselves.

The Women’s Firsts made further strides towards winning their Super 8s group on Sunday at Bovey Tracey. In the first of their double-header, they too ended 18 runs short against an on form Ipplepen side. However, earning batting and bowling bonuses meant they remain top going into the last week of the group. Laura Bale had a standout game taking 3-32 and retiring on 31* but the wide count was the difference between the teams. The second game against Bovey Tracey finished too late for this report but check play-cricket for details.

The Fourths started life in G Division West on the wrong end a tight one against Plympton 3rd XI at Delamore Park. Batting first, Barrie Fitzpatrick lead the scoring on 49, with Phil Gibson (26) and Max Daniels (22) providing support to set a total of 165-9. A stellar opening spell for Bradley Nicholls (8-4-11-3) and a flurry of late wickets from Simon Garland (4.2-0-20-3) were almost enough for the Fourths to defend their total. However, a 67* from Paul Hamilton as the tension rose glued the Plympton innings together and the visitors reached their target with 1 wicket and 4 balls remaining.

In Kingsbridge, it was uphill all afternoon for the Seconds as their visit resulted in a 184 run loss. The team struggled to get any kind of traction with ball or bat to make the contest closer and the result was the Seconds’ biggest runs loss since Plymouth 2nd XI beat them by 211 runs in May 2011. Ewan Grewal can console the youth wing of the team that these kinds of results do not come around often, having played in both matches. The Seconds teenagers provided the day’s positives. Joe Davies held firm in the late innings firing line to take 3-74 and Finn Torley did well with the gloves. Standing up to the stumps for most of the innings, Finn was able to prevent the Kingsbridge batters running extras on 43 of the 46 wide balls sent down. He also top scored with a punchy run a ball 35.

Next weekend, the Firsts travel to Bradninch, who looked comfortable over Hatherleigh this week with Captain Gary Chappell recording a five-fer and a 50. The Seconds host Plymstock 1st XI, the Thirds are home to Teignmouth & Shaldon 2nd XI and the Fourths are away at Whitchurch 2nd XI. The Women’s Firsts are at home on Sunday, looking to seal their place in the Super 8’s finals day against Plymouth and Bovey Tracey.

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