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The Sweep 23 Week 11: Everyone reach for the run rate calculator.

Words: Simon Travers

Images: Ivor Thomas


In the build up to Saturday’s games, the weather had the feel of a sulky teenager, huffing away, slamming the door to its bedroom, shouting ‘Why can’t I be November if I want to!’ As late as 11:30am on Saturday, the most probable outcome seemed a full weekend washout. In the end, the Ones were the only men’s team to be victims of cancel culture as they made the 100 mile round trip to Bradninch & Kentisbeare for a rain off. The Ones drew level to third with Sidmouth due to a league rules anomaly as Cornwood and Bradninch were awarded 10 league points for their cancellation, but Heathcoat and Sidmouth only received 8 for abandoning after 6.1 overs. With another comfortable win over Bovey Tracey, Sandford are 25 points clear of the pack.

The Women’s Ones were also cut short on Sunday because of weather on their trip to league leaders Exeter. Gemma Lancaster won the toss and fielded but both of Exeter’s openers batted with energy. Erin Vukusic and Eliza Heard both made half-centuries as they put on 107 for the first wicket. Vukusic made 55 from 56 while Heard batted through the innings for 84* from 104 and 11 boundaries. Exeter lost 2 overs to a light shower but made 195-2. Kat Frost and Shini Al Khalid were the most economical of the Cornwood bowlers. The Women’s Ones were starting to make inroads into the Exeter target when the real rain came. In the Women’s league, 15 overs is enough to constitute a completed game. Evie Privett (37*) and Becky Harris had put on 41 for the 2nd wicket with the score on 72-1 from 15.3 overs when everything halted. Evie and Becky were well set to challenge the Exeter total but the team were 20 runs behind on the run rate.

The Saturday match with perhaps the most riding on it was the Threes visit to Stokeinteignhead. After a slowish start, the Threes have been playing good cricket and came into the match riding a four-game winning streak. That run of form had been enough to catapult the Threes second in an even F Division West. The trip to Stokeinteignhead represented the third match in three Saturdays where a Cornwood team faced a one versus two, top of the table battle. That is an achievement in itself that points to the health of the club. However, like the Ones and Twos before them, the Threes were comfortably beaten by their hosts.

Stokeinteignhead’s captain and opening bowler Thomas Hawkins had received the county-wide memo to win the toss and field. That decision delivered immediate results as the Threes top three had been and gone in 7 overs. The ball was doing plenty off the pitch and batting was difficult. Ewan Grewal and Sam West tried to counter attack and put 28 on for the fourth wicket. After that, it was the John Chacko show. He ripped through the middle order with figures of 6-2-16-5 and as the Threes were bowled out for 60.

Stokeinteignhead knocked off the necessary runs as quickly as possible to prevent any weather complications. The one positive the Threes can take from the game is that they stuck at it in the field and took 6 wickets. There were 3 wickets each for Sam Cumberland (7.2-1-20-3) and Ewan Grewal (6-0-25-3). However, the hosts had enough firepower to get over the line and the Threes drop back into their division’s chasing pack.

Part of the Sweep is to try to provide an entry point into the world of Devon Cricket for people like me who came to Cornwood through our kids. Veterans and DCL soothsayers please bear with me a moment while I man-splain something you already know. Cornwood is an ambitious club but, as recent results show, there is still room to grow in the bigger games. So what makes a champion in Devon Cricket? League tables suggest the clearest pattern seems to be in the losses category. Since the league restructure in 2018, 83% of division winners across all abilities won their league with 3 or fewer losses. Only 4 teams have won a division after losing 5 times. It seems unlikely though that success comes by teams placing unsustainable pressure on themselves to never lose. My hunch is that there is a pattern that can be seen at Sandford, or in Somerset’s T20 team, or in our colt’s section, that you don’t fluke or short circuit success. You have to invest over multiple seasons, build and keep building, until it’s obvious all year long that your team is routinely a step ahead of the opposition.

Cornwood is a club meeting with success on a regular basis. On current league standings, there are two stronger teams in the county than our Ones and our Women’s Ones, only two stronger second teams than our Twos, only four stronger third teams than our Threes, and only one stronger Fourth team than our Fours out of the six clubs who represent that deep. Building is hard work and sometimes it helps to have a reminder to enjoy the process. In the memorable words of one modern poet, “we’ve come so far and we’ve reached so high and we’ve looked each day and night in the eye, and we’re still so young and we hope for more.”

The Twos rose to the challenge presented by an improved Plymouth 2XI to break their 3 game losing streak with a 21 run win by run rate. Losing the toss was perhaps a blessing in disguise as the Twos batted through their 45 overs without rain. Charles Finan and Ben Griffiths punished loose deliveries from Plymouth’s seam attack as they put on 80 for the first wicket in 15 overs. Ben was the first of John Kerridge’s wickets when he holed out at long off on 40. Charles kept going to the 37th over, when he fell 8 short of a ton. His 92 from 109 balls came with 15 fours, including six boundaries from the bowling of Sam White. John Kerridge’s leg spin proved to be the thorn in the Two’s side. He did not look as dominant as he did at Mountwise earlier in the season, but still recorded figures of 9-0-35-4. In seven league appearances for Plymouth 2XI against the Twos, John Kerridge now has career figures of 59.4-3-223-28.

After Charles Finan was out, Jason Hall and Robin Dart put on 35 for the 6th wicket to help the team to a finishing score of 230-7 at a run rate of 5.11 an over. The clouds darkened over tea. The Twos knew their job was to keep Plymouth below that rate and get through the minimum 20 overs needed to make the game legal. Hearts were in mouths at 5:42pm when the players had to scatter from the pitch for rain 7 balls short of the magic 20 overs. Utilising Jason Hall’s off spin with the new ball proved the right move as he motored through 9 overs with figures of 3 for 17. John Kerridge had looked to threaten with the bat until Ben Griffiths returned the compliment from earlier with a catch at long on. When the players came off for the first time, Plymouth were 75-4, 22 runs behind where they needed to be.

The players got back on and, once the 20 over mark was passed, Tom Hughes (32) and Jack Hughes (40) provided some resistance as the Twos hunted bonus point wickets. Another rain interruption reduced the Plymouth innings further to 38 overs. On the last ball of the innings, Jack Hughes edged Josh Goodliffe (4-0-23-2) to Robin Dart at slip for the last wicket to fall on 173.

Over at Delamore Park, the Fours faced the challenge of a consistent Ipplepen 3XI team. Ipplepen won the toss and had read the memo, but the Fours batting order delivered up top with all top four players scoring over 20. John Whitfield was the pick of the team with a crunching 58 from 40 balls with 11 fours. Ipplepen relied on Keith Wakeham in the field as he took 4 catches, one off his own bowling, and took figures of 8-0-43-4. The Fours went north of 200 for the third time this season with a score of 207-9. Only 3 teams in G Division West have more batting bonus points. Ipplepen’s batting of late has been consistent, scoring between 167 and 189 for the past four weeks. Wickets proved tough for the Fours to capture amongst rain interruptions, but Simon Garland and Stanley Baker bowled with the economy needed to restrict the visitors to 162-4 in 34 overs.

Next week, weather permitting the Ones are at home to Paignton, the Twos take a short trip to Ivybridge, the Threes are at home to South Brent and the Fours are on the road at Stoke Gabriel. Keep an eye out in the week for colts action too as the Under 11s have their league final and the Under 13s are one win away from an unbeaten league campaign.

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