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The Sweep 23 Week 13 : Oak Park Teams rebuild momentum, Delamore teams stall.

Updated: Jan 23



Words: Simon Travers

Photos: Ivor Thomas

 

Cricket is like good comedy in the sense that both rely on timing. Which means that all cricketers benefit from having momentum. A bowler needs miles in their legs and a rhythm in their run up. Batters need to get their eye in before unleashing the big shots. A test match needs four days of tension to climax on the fifth. With an enforced week off, holiday season starting, and a week soaked with the kind of patchy rain that makes a ground staff’s life impossible; momentum was in short supply across Devon. There were plenty of mismatched games and only 5 teams batting first from the Premier down to C divisions scoring above 200. Thoughts and prayers for North Devon who were skittled by Bradninch & Kentisbeare for 27.


The Ones picked up their chase in the Premier Division with the long haul to the Knightshayes estate for their match against Heathcoat. Elliott Staddon won the toss and headed straight into the field. Harry Southgate looked to attack the new ball, but when he mistimed a drive to Jack Ormsby off of Lee Baker, the Ones had prised an early opening. Matt Skeemer grasped the opportunity with 3 wickets in consecutive overs to decimate the Heathcoat middle order at 47-4. Bowling around the wicket to the left-handers Southgate and Mpofu, Skeemer got rewards for attacking the stumps with full swinging deliveries to claim his second four-fer of the season with 10-3-28-4.


Captain Liam Lewis was the most successful of the batting side with 57 from 83 balls. At first his strategy was to counter attack with early boundaries, but wickets falling at the other end becalmed him as he had to fight. Lewis and Jamie Drew put on 63 for the 6th wicket, positioning his side for a possible onslaught in the last 10 overs. That hope disappeared when Lewis holed out to midwicket in Ben Beaumont’s first over. Beaumont then bowled Drew with a leg-break that cut back in to clip his off stump on his way to 3.5-0-11-3. With their last 5 wickets falling for 19 runs, the Heathcoat lower order went tamely to set a 160 target.


Heathcoat followed the Ones new ball tactic of pace from one end and spin from the other and quickly gained an upper hand. After a 13 run first over, Jay Bista edged behind, Max Finzel mistimed a drive, Ryan Rickard and Noah Carlisle were both beaten by balls that moved off the pitch to put the score at 28-4 from 6.1 overs. It was down to Ben Beaumont and Matt Skeemer to rebuild the innings. Beaumont, with his fourth 50 of the season for Cornwood and his second against Heathcoat, lead the way with 61 from 87 balls. Skeemer provided support with 30 from 63 as the pair put on 87 for the fifth wicket. Although both batters prized their wicket, they still batted with enough positive intent to take time away as a factor in the match. Both their wickets fell within 5 balls of each other with the score on 117-6. While it was not yet job done, the lower order had a full 20 overs to score 44 runs.


Elliott Staddon’s experience helped him hold firm in a situation that could have slipped away from the Ones rapidly. His unbeaten 23 from 40, finishing the match with an inside edge for 4 to fine leg, was just enough to get the Ones to their target with 2 wickets spare. James Boyle led the Heathcoat bowling with 10-1-42-3. This year’s and last year’s matches between these two sides have all been nailbiters. Last year, Heathcoat had enough both times to sweep the Ones. This season, Cornwood have done the double over Heathcoat. Bradninch were the first team to achieve that feat since 2017 on their way to the title last year. Whatever the rest of the season brings, it is a very impressive addition to the team’s resume.


In the rest of the Premier Division games, league leaders Sandford lost as Jason Niemand delivered 97* for 6th placed Exmouth. That shrinks their lead to 10 over Bradninch & Kentisbeare in second. The Ones are in third, 13 points behind the leaders while Heathcoat remain 5th. Sidmouth stay fourth after sneaking a close one at 9th place Plympton. Paignton beat Bovey Tracey by 2 wickets to jump over them into seventh.



Back at Oak Park, the Twos could not afford any complacency against a Babbacombe side fighting against relegation. With a younger side than usual due to availability, and a pitch with plenty for the bowlers, there were no guaranteed results. Andy Bees and Harrison Hodge dominated the Babbacombe top order with the new ball. Andy Bees was unplayable with 9-5-8-3, with 47 dot balls, no wides or boundaries. Harrison Hodge’s figures of 6-1-17-0 undersell his spell which deserved at least a wicket. There was a chance dropped from his bowling and multiple played and misses as he kept challenging Aidan Lightowlers’ outside edge. Lightowlers fought for 91 balls and 106 minutes before he fell in the 28th over. The Two’s bowlers and fielders did not let the pressure slip with energetic ground fielding that saved at least 15-20 runs. Adam Goodliffe was welcomed back into the side and delivered figures of 8-1-17-3 and 3 catches. Two were regulation slip chances but the diving shin-height grab he made at mid-off to remove Josh Thompson definitely makes the conversation for catch of the year. The Twos were able to dismiss Babbacombe for 130 in 39.4 overs.


The local knowledge about Babbacombe is that they are capable of batting and bowling, they just struggle to do both in the same game. Their opening bowlers leaked wides but otherwise challenged the Two’s top order. After 16 overs, the Twos were at 47-2. Charles Finan then eased into his work like a Rolls Royce cruising on a motorway. He hit his fourth half century of the season in six appearances, drawing the sting from Babbacombe with an unbeaten 80 in 88 balls with 12 fours. Credit too for Sam Griffiths with 26* as he batted responsibly in the supporting role. The Twos made it look easier than it was with an 8 wicket victory to go third in C Division West.



Meanwhile, down at the Kate Brook Sports Centre in Chudleigh, things were not going as well for the Threes. Interestingly, the Kate Brook Sports Centre is not named after a sports woman called Kate Brook, but after a stream that runs through the parish of Chudleigh and into the River Teign. The facts of the match are that having slumped to 19-7, the Threes ended up all out for 48 and Chudleigh chased them down in 11.1 overs. Credit to Chudleigh’s Ben Cowling with figures of 7-4-12-5 and Dominic Goodhew who took 8-2-18-3. The Threes have an aggregate score of 108 in their last two matches. They get to have another go next week.


Back at Delamore Park, Under 13’s Seb Clewer made his adult debut four the Fours in a side where the next youngest player, Simon Garland, was 30 years his senior. Brixham 2XI are one of three teams with a genuine promotion chance from G Division West. It was never going to be easy for the Fours batting first. Charles Knight was able to make 36 with 7 fours before he was out hit wicket and Dave Tracey provided the lower order heft with 26 from 20. No one else made double figures though and the Fours were all out for 115. Two wickets in two balls from Neil Lambert caused a few early jitters for the visitors. Ethan Black’s 52 from 43 was enough to power them to a comfortable 5 wicket win.



Both Friday’s Under 19’s match against Plymouth and Sunday’s women’s softball games ended up as casualties to the weather this weekend. Earlier in the week, the Under 15s didn’t quite do enough to beat Plymstock in their cup semi-final. Rocky Travers top scored with 35 to end the Under 15s season with 388 runs. The team total of 106-7 was around 20-25 runs light as Plymstock won by 6 wickets with 17 balls spare.


Next weekend, weather permitting, the Under 19s kick the weekend off with a Friday night T20 against Plymstock. It’s 3 versus 4 in the Premier at Oak Park as The Ones welcome Sidmouth. The Twos have a local derby against Yelverton Bohemians, The Threes travel to Bridestowe 2XI and the Fours are home against Paignton 4XI. Then, the Under 19s are back on it Monday night as they play away at Ivybridge.



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