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The Sweep 22 Week 15 : Too easy for Jay, as the dust settles on President’s Day

Words: Simon Travers

Match Photos & Video: Ivor Thomas


It was President’s Day on Saturday as dozens of past players and members gathered to catch up and celebrate the season. On the pitch, with four games to go for the men’s team and two matches left for the women, the dust of battle is starting to settle.

The Ones were faced with a visit from Hatherleigh. Starting the day in 9th position and still to visit North Devon and Heathcoat, the visitors were desperate for a result. They won the toss and batted but could not gather momentum against the eight bowlers employed by the Ones’ attack. Key moment of the innings was when South African Kagiso Rapulana was caught by Harry Woolway from the bowling of Lee Baker (10-0-32-2) for 49, 2 runs below Rapulana’s season average. Lee’s wickets took him to 25 for the season, the most in senior league play across the club. Paul Heard made a sprightly 51 from 58, but Ben Beaumont’s off spin chiselled away at the lower order to take 7.2-0-42-3. Hatherleigh were bowled out for 212, a total that looked light on an Oak Park outfield that is finally turning brown after weeks of holding out against the sun.

The stage was set for Jay Bista to deliver his fourth Premier Division century of the season. Jay hit 142* in 88 balls with 18 fours and 7 sixes. The highlights of the inning made being in the middle resemble one more net session, with balls flying, the scoreboard ringing round faster than a petrol pump and Hatherleigh fielders non-plussed. Ben Beaumont also backed up his bowling performance with 32* from 26 and the chase was done in 24.3 overs.

The Ones stay in 5th place with 204 points, needing one more win to guarantee a winning season. Checking records back to 2002, Jay Bista already has the 12th highest single season run total for the Premier Division history. He needs 47 more to ensure he breaks the top 10, 175 for the fourth ever 1000 run season in the division, 375 more for a guaranteed 100 average, and 406 for the highest run total in Premier Division history.

Heathcoat beat North Devon in the top 2 clash to take lead for the title run in. The Ones could yet have a role to play in deciding where the trophy goes with a last day visit to Sandford. Hatherleigh’s hopes of survival depend on their bank holiday weekend encounter with Sidmouth, while Plymouth’s season continues to slide.

On Sunday, The Women’s Ones visited Mount Wise looking to protect their unbeaten record in Division 3 play. The Cornwood ladies bucked the trend of the weekend by winning the toss and bowling. Megan Hayward top scored for Plymouth with 56 from 76 before Hannah Bale took her wicket. There were 2 wickets for opening bowler Olivia Gibson (6-0-26-2) but the Player of the Match award went to Beth Vinnicombe for her accurate spell of 7-0-28-0 with no wides. Chasing a target of 166/4, if you can’t have Jay Bista in your team then you want Gemma Lancaster. Gemma continued her brilliant season’s form by leading from the front with 84* from 88 balls. That puts her on an eye watering season’s average of 369.00, with 96 more runs to her name than any other Devon Women’s League batter. Gemma’s most runs in a season was 2014 when she made 412 league runs at an average of 82.4. With one game left in the league, that target looks in trouble.

Hannah Parsons supported Gemma with 38 runs as part of 105 run second wicket partnership. The hosts were able to generate wickets as the target drew into sight, but the Women’s Ones made it home with 3 wickets spare. 56 points clear in the league with one game to go, the Cornwood Women’s First Eleven are deserved Devon Women’s League Division 3 Champions for 2022.

The other team with the most on the line coming into the weekend was the Fours, seven points deep into the relegation zone and facing bottom of the table Stoke Gabriel 2XI. Both teams drew from the widest pool of players possible to bring competitive, veteran teams to what some described as a spicy, or Old Spicey if you prefer, encounter. Winning the toss and batting, the Fours were able to avoid losing early wickets as Anthony Chapman (27) and Paul Skeemer (29) built a platform. Harry Fitzpatrick (63*) and Ewan Grewal (43) were able to capitalise as the Fours reached full batting points with 210-8 in their 40.

Dan Skeemer (8-1-32-3) and Alex Passman (7-0-25-3) both delivered and were almost able to swing the match in the Fours’ direction. However, Stoke Gabriel’s captain Kai Horsburgh, irritatingly chose this match to score runs for the first time since May. He was out for 76, but Andy Ball pulled out a lifetime best for the visitors with 37* to put them over the line with 3 wickets and 11 balls spare. Play Cricket notes that Ball has played 81 Devon League games for Stoke Gabriel, and this innings accounts for 14% of his career runs. Bonus points mean the Fours are still ahead of Stoke Gabriel in the table. They will be hoping for the results against Plymouth Civil Service and Bridestowe in the next two weeks that can set up a last day crunch decider against Ipplepen.

The Twos ducked around the back of Totnes for the other half of the weekend’s double header with Stoke Gabriel at the JE Eastley Memorial Ground. Stoke Gabriel is becoming a tricky ground to go as the hosts have won 13 out of 15 at home in the past two seasons. The Twos won the toss and batted and could consider themselves in front for the first 30 overs. Jack Brown opened with a back-to-back half-century. He finished on 60 from 92, while captain Aaron Richards provided solid support with an attacking 37. The Twos were 160-3 at second drinks but Stoke came roaring back to finish the innings on 225-9. Chief culprits for the comeback were spinners Dan Bullock (9-0-32-4) and birthday boy Kyle Lardner (9-1-33-2). Since Bullock’s move from Brixham in 2021, they have been a thorn in the Two’s side, combining for joint figures in 3 matches of 51.5-4-188-16.

Was 225 a par score? Eventually, it turned out to be exactly par. The Stoke innings took on a similar kind of rhythm to Cornwood’s. Dan Bullock recorded his lifetime best 65 as the hosts reached 151-4 at second drinks. His removal directly after the break by Josh Goodliffe changed the momentum of the match as James Richardson picked up two wickets in an over on the way to figures of 9-1-43-3. The local analysis was that Stoke batted down to nine and it was clear the only to a victory for Cornwood was through wickets. With two overs remaining, the Twos had finally got to the 10 and 11 batters, but Stoke only needed 3 runs for a win. Josh Goodliffe stepped up to bowl the over. He was called for two marginal wides before hitting the stumps to end the game tied. One thing that seems clear from watching Josh in the past few seasons, he fits the ‘some may be better, few are braver’ category of cricketer. If it’s tight at the end, Josh always puts his hand up and usually delivers.

The tie is the third tied game that the Twos have had this century. The other two were both against Bovey Tracey 2XI. The most recent of those games was the 26th May, 2012, when a 105 from Matt Skeemer and 5-30 for Robin Dart from 15 overs were standout performances. Who was the only participant in both that match and this week’s tie? Our faithful umpire Stuart Mansfield.

Finally, the Three’s travelled to Newton Abbot for a mid-table F Division West tussle against South Devon’s 2nd XI. Another promising performance from Harrison Hodge (7-0-36-2) with the new ball was the highlight of the fielding performance as South Devon scored 241-7. The Threes’ bowlers could not find a way to stop Morgan Hargreaves as he batted through for 119* in 118. That was too many for the Threes to chase. Charles Knight (19) and Josh Wood (37) put on 46 for the second wicket but Sean Andrews dominated with 7-2-17-4 as the Threes were all out for 113.

Next weekend, the first challenge for the Ones will be to get through the holiday traffic as they visit Paignton. The Twos will be hosting Paignton’s Twos, who are still battling relegation. The Threes are home against Stokeinteignhead, and the Fours will be feeding off the atmosphere at the Manadon Sports Hub as they take on Plymouth Civil Service & Roborough while Plymouth Parkway are home to Merthyr Town.

While you’re here, quick plug to remind you to organise your team for the family quiz night on the 26th August. It should be fun.


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