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The Sweep 22 Week 9: Milestones for Skeemer and Bista, Lancaster and Bale.

Words: Simon Travers

Photos: Ivor Thomas


This week’s sweep starts with congratulations to Matt Skeemer on his 150th First Team appearance for the club this Saturday. Matt has travelled the length of the Cornwood pathway, with play cricket records stretching back to his U11 Acorns days in 2006. Making his first team debut in 2012, he broke into the Ones in 2013, with a 50 against North Devon that season being an early career highlight. Captaining the club from 2018-2020, Matt has over 2000 runs and 150 wickets for the Firsts. Matt’s achievements for the club propelled him to Devon County honours, with a National Counties best bowling of 4-25 last season against Shropshire.

Matt and the rest of the Ones were in action at Oak Park this Saturday, facing a Sandford team who can claim to be the in-form Premier League side. After a slow start, wins against North Devon, Plymouth and Heathcoat have given Sandford a legitimate seat at the table for title contenders. The Ones were put into bat by the hosts and for the first 30 overs, Jay Bista and Max Finzel were completely in charge. In an opening partnership of 178, Jay became the first player this season across the club to reach three figures. Scoring 110 from 92 balls, with 16 fours and a six, Jay commanded the Sandford attack. Max Finzel also registered his top score for the season with a composed 63 from 101 balls. With that platform, perhaps the Ones would have hoped to add a few more than 73 runs to finish with a total of 251. Ben Beaumont was able to reach 27 in 24 balls, but the Sandford bowlers came back strongly. Harry Everett did the most damage with figures of 10-0-31-4 and a certain Jackson Thompson took figures of 7.3-0-37-3.

Although Sandford would need to work to reach a total of 252, their openers were able to get off to a flyer with 34 runs coming from the first 4 overs. Sandy Allen (84 from 79) and wicketkeeper Adam Small (82* from 116) did the damage with a second wicket partnership of 123. A double wicket 31th over for Matt Skeemer brought the score to 177-3, almost identical to Cornwood, but with a run rate of below 4 needed for the win. Sandford reached the target with 27 balls to spare to put them within 4 points of first place in the table. The Ones are in 8th, above Paignton in the drop zone by 2 points.

Two outstanding individual performances made the difference for the Women’s Ones as they beat visiting Taunton Deane 2XI on Sunday by 105 runs. Not content to let Jay Bista knock her from the top of the club’s batting honours’ board, Gemma Lancaster opened and batted through the Women’s Ones 35 over innings to record an imperious century; an unbeaten 103* in 111 balls with 14 fours in 2 hours and 35 minutes. Setting a total of 215-7 at over 6 an over, Taunton Deane kept up the rate for 11 overs, despite losing early wickets to get to 62-3. A fifth wicket partnership of 24 gave Taunton an outside chance until one-woman wrecking crew Laura Bale began her second spell. Dismissing 6 Taunton batters in the space of 15 deliveries, Laura demolished the visitors in a joint player of the match performance, to reach career best figures of 4.5-0-33-6. That also makes Laura the first Cornwood player to take a 6-fer this season.

The Twos delivered a strong performance at Ashburton lifts them to joint 4th in C Division West, tied on 120 points with Stoke Gabriel and Yelverton. Put into bat by their hosts, the Twos started strongly with another positive opening partnership of 55 from Robin Dart (20) and Ben Griffiths (21). From that platform, Noah Carlisle was able to press the advantage with his second 50 of the season. His 60* from 94 balls with 8 fours anchored the innings on the way to a total of 208-8 from 45 overs. Rain between innings meant that the Ashburton target was reduced to 195 in 42. Andy Bees continued his great run of form delivering figures of 9-3-12-3 at the top of the innings. After that the wickets came in bunches and were shared across the bowlers as the Twos bowled Ashburton for 127 to claim a 67 run win.

After enduring a back-to-back cancellation and abandonment, the Threes were happy to get back to winning ways at Delamore Park. They welcomed a visit from Kingsbridge 2XI and then efficiently dispatched the South Devon team for 119 in 37.5 overs. Josh Cumberland brought the heat at the top of the innings with figures of 8-3-19-3 and there were two wickets each for captain Josh Wood and young leg spinner Joe Davies. 37 each from Josh Wood and Lloyd Taylor became the backbone of the Threes response as they comfortably cruised to a 19 point win in 21.4 overs. The Threes league placing of 5th is slightly deceptive due to the previous unfinished matches. Bovey Tracey 3XI are the class of F Division West so far, but the Threes are only eight points outside of promotion at the halfway point.

The Fours visited Ipplepen’s Thirds and ended the day a comfortable second. Putting the hosts into bat at Stover School, The Fours fought hard in the field to generate a batting collapse that took Ipplepen from 145-2 to a finish on 166-8. Young speedster Charles Brake took his first ever league wickets with figures of 8-0-47-3 while Harry Fitzpatrick got a personal best with figures of 6-0-29-4. Like their hosts, the Fours also suffered a batting collapse. Unfortunately, it was at the start of their innings as the team struggled to 47-7. From there, things improved with returning Dan Skeemer reaching 17, Under 15’s Charlie Farmer batting sensibly for his 14* and captain Dave Tracey making hay with a run a ball 22. The Fours reached 104 before the end, 62 run shy of the Ipplepen total.

At the season’s halfway point, there is space to drop in on what some may consider the toughest, roughest, more ruthlessly cut-throat than an arm wrestle between Virat Kohli and Jonny Bairstow, title chase in the club this year; the serious business of the Cornwood fantasy league. Currently 5 players have broken the 7000 points barrier with Daniel Piddock almost 200 points ahead in first with his Pid’s Powerhouses. Credit this week to Daniel for having Gemma Lancaster and Jay Bista as captain in his team. Paul Skeemer and Charles Knight are the other players currently in a podium position.

Next Saturday is the mid-season social. It’s Mexican night at the wood so bring your ponchos and sombreros and join the party. The Twos will be the host team at Oak Park as they look to make it four wins out of four against Kingsbridge. The Ones are in local derby action away at Plymouth. Make sure to check the local parking plans if you’re planning to support. The Threes are home at Delamore Park against Babbacombe 2XI, and the Fours are also only down the road at Delganey Sports Ground, facing Plympton 3XI. There’s no match for the Women’s Ones this Sunday, but watch out during the week as the Under 19s start their T20 campaign away to Lewdown.


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