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The Sweep 22 Week 18: Last Day Washout Can’t Dampen the Spirit

Words: Simon Travers


The gloomy weather forecasts were right. Last Saturday of the season at Oak Park and, as the rain intensified from spittle to persistent around 2:30pm, there was the 2022 season in the books. It was the kind of afternoon where your head said the weather might clear in half an hour, but your heart knows it will be closer to half a year. Autumn arrived too early, wiping its muddy feet on the welcome mat.

That meant Saturday at the club was also the kind of day where the wider team at Oak Park shine in the gloom. Bradley and the grounds team had produced two pitches where the runs were still flowing. Helen and the catering team delivered another incredible tea for four teams, officials and club guests. If there were an official Devon Cricket Tea League, Cornwood would absolutely be Premier League and probably champions this year. Nothing says season’s-end special like sausages in a brioche bun.

The Ones were the only team to not have their match rain shortened at Sandford. Having been put into bat, the Ones got themselves into a good situation that slipped away in the last 10 overs.

In his last match before returning to India, Jay Bista once more led the charge with a 71 in 69 balls. That meant Jay has amassed 1000 league runs in the second part of the season after his return from Ranji Cup duties. His innings ensured Jay is the Premier Division top scorer with a league average of 90.67. Only Alex Rockett of Kilmington scored more runs across Devon, although Alex scored 1321 runs for Kilmington’s 2XI in G Division East, and 10 runs in 2 appearances for the A Division Firsts. Throw in 21 Premier wickets at 23.86 and it is clear that Jay has had a season for the ages.

However, you can’t tell the whole story of Jay’s contribution to Cornwood through statistics alone. Jay adjusted from the pulsing rhythms of Mumbai life to the silent lanes of Dartmoor. He has brought his best all year and brought the best from others too. One of the marks of his contribution is in the visible growth of other players. Max Finzel and Ryan Rickard have had career best years. Ben Beaumont, particularly his bowling, and Noah Carlisle have continued to develop and strengthen their games. More than just a great cricketer, Jay is a great person. Thoughtful, resilient, friendly and fiercely dedicated; it has been an honour for the club to welcome him this year.

Back to the match, once Jay was stumped, a well-rounded 45 in 65 from Noah Carlisle and an extraordinary 41 in 14 from Ben Beaumont pushed the score onto 217-5 with 10 overs to go. While fireworks might have been anticipated, nothing is ever inevitable in club cricket. 3 quick wickets from Jackson Thompson (10-5-23-3) choked the run chase and Ryan Glass (6.4-0-38-3) terminated it on 242 from 48.4 overs.

While matches on the west side of the county were all packing up and heading home, Sandford began their chase. The Ones were competitive for the first 18 overs. When Elliott Staddon removed ex-Cornwood Ciaran Gray for a six ball duck, a total of 93-4 meant the match was in the balance. It swung Sandford’s way for a four wicket win thanks to a comprehensive 102* from 66 balls innings courtesy of Jackson Thompson with 14 fours and 4 sixes. While Jackson has a long and storied history with Cornwood, this was strictly business. Seven years ago in 2015, he hit two centuries in a season for the Ones against Sandford.

The loss means the Ones finish in Fifth with 239 points, including a tied league high of 74 batting bonus points. Among the many highlights of the Ones’ campaign, they are the only team to do the double this season over Premier Division champions Bradninch. Bradninch convincingly won the winner-takes-all showdown against Heathcoat by 6 wickets. A punishing bowling performance restricted Heathcoat to 175-8 in 50 overs and Bradninch chased the total down with 13.2 overs spare. Winning the last seven games on the bounce was the kind of streak needed to be victorious in a very open division and Bradninch are worthy champions.

At Oak Park, only 21.4 overs were possible but each one was eventful. The Twos needed a point to secure second, and the visitors Ashburton needed a point to secure their place in C Division West. Both teams achieved what they needed in seven overs. A stinging hit to the long on boundary from Jack Lane pushed the Twos past 40. The afternoon was brightened by one of the most entertaining innings of the summer from Josh Goodliffe. Usually, Josh walks to bat with some form of late innings run chase pressure to consider. Promoted to three in the order, Josh went large with five super-sized sixes on the way to 92 from 56 balls. Later, Josh would modestly give some credit to a short leg-side boundary, but that doesn’t do justice as four of those maximums, and six of his 10 fours, were bombs to long on or long off. Josh’s first ever fifty was the fastest of the season for the Twos in 36 balls and 54 minutes. As the weather worsened, Josh fell just short of a memorable hundred with a top edge to backward point that was caught by Matt Coon. The Twos finish clearly second in a very even C Division West with 262 points. Next year will bring fresh challenges with four new teams, including a local derby with Ivybridge 1XI.

The Threes ended their season the way that the Twos started, with an away trip to Kingsbridge. Winning the toss and batting, the Threes achieved full batting points with a round 200 in 38.4 overs. Sam Griffiths hit his third 50 in four games for the Threes with 61 from 64. Neil Lambert crafted his way to a patient not out 32 from 38 and there were cameos for Anthony Jackson, Billy Dixon (both 22) and James Bowden (19). With the damp rising, Kingsbridge knew their first target was 101 in 20 overs for a result. With the hosts reaching 122-2 in 20 overs, they had enough for a win by run rate and an early pint. The Threes comfortably met pre-season expectations with a sixth place, 8 win season that was full of promise for coming seasons.

The Fours were washed out too at Delamore Park against Ipplepen 3XI. When the rain came, Barrie Fitzpatrick (57*) and Nathan Parsons (38*) were both set fair for last day heroics with the score on 133-2 and 16 overs to bat with. However, the inevitable, crushing, glory-soaked 200 run win that was surely coming would not have been enough to lift the Fours from the bottom of the G Division West table. Planning starts now for next year’s H Division campaign as the Fours are the only men’s team with the opportunity to beat Plymstock next season.

Sunday’s season finale for the Women’s Ones also was a casualty of the weather. It’s not the way that the team would want to finish the Division C campaign undefeated but their achievements this year are undiminished.

With the season’s end also comes the conclusion of the Cornwood fantasy league. Congratulations to Daniel Piddock, whose Pid’s Powerhouses ran the board with 20025 points. Second place went to Matt Skeemer’s Two Tone team with 19944 and Charles Knight’s Knightwatchmen complete the podium with 19609 points.

There’s still one challenge left in the form of a West Devon Cup Final on Tuesday for the Under 13s. Next Saturday, the club hosts the Devon U19 T20 finals day and Colts presentation will happen after the final. However, that’s the end of the season for the adult cricket teams and the Devon Cricket League and the end of the Sweep for 2022. Stay safe this winter. Hold tight to your favourite stories and champagne moments. Let the dodgy decisions and the mis-timed shots get lost to the Play Cricket cloud. Buy an Ivor Dewdney’s every so often. Remember that although we are lucky to share the first-class surroundings and facilities we do, Cornwood is the people and that’s why it is an extraordinary club.

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