Words: Simon Travers
2XI and 4XI pictures: Ivor Thomas
It was hard to escape a sense of local history as The Ones made their last road trip of the season to Bovey Tracey. Coming into the game 15 points behind Plympton and having lost their last 10 completed matches, Bovey were floundering to avoid relegation. It’s been a torrid season at the Recreation Ground, with early hopes crushed by batting availability and visa issues. It’s a full 20 years since Bovey last had a relegation season, when they went winless in 2003.
The last time Cornwood won away at Bovey Tracey was 29th May, 2009 in the Quarter Finals of the ECB National Club Championship. That day, captain Jason Hall top scored with 48, Matthew Butterworth took 2 for 30, and a young Elliott Staddon took the catch that removed Lewis Hammett. It was seventeen years to the day, 26th August, 2006, before scorecards were invented, when Cornwood last scored a league win away at Bovey.
Captain Elliott Staddon won the toss and batted on a turning wicket. The left-handed combination of Finzel and Finan made a bright start against the new ball. Max Finzel passed 400 runs for the season, making 46 from 55 with 9 fours, before being adjudged caught behind from veteran offie Toby Codd. Despite early suggestions from Max’s innings, batting was challenging. Ben Beaumont bottom edged to slip, while both Charles Finan (36) and Noah Carlisle were beaten by Ollie Clifford-Bourne’s (10-2-34-3) flight to put the Cornwood total at 106-4.
Chris Parker chiselled out a patient 30 from 57 balls as boundaries dried up. Cornwood were able to bat their overs, but only hit the ropes 4 times in the last 30 overs. In many ways, this was old school Devon cricket lightyears away from last year’s scorched tracks and lightning outfields. Harry Woolway made a valuable 19* late on to help the Ones post a total of 180.
The bad news for the hosts about spin being effective was that Cornwood’s spinning B’s came into full effect. Baker, Bista, Beaumont and Ormsby have combined for 58 Premier Division wickets at 20.25 and an economy rate of 4.13. They all, with Matt Skeemer and Elliott Staddon, are in the top 50 division wicket takers. Whatever strategy Bovey Tracey tried, the Ones always had another option.
Option one, Lee Baker (10-2-34-3), brought the best of starts with three early wickets. Opener Sam Harvey and Toby Codd both regretted playing back to Lee as their stumps rattled. Captain Lewis Hammett got the memo about getting forward, only to be trapped LBW. 18-3 became 32-4 when Jack Ormsby had an immediate impact. His first ball to Ashley Causey was a ballooning bat-pad catch to keeper Matthew Butterworth.
Daniel Green and Jake Pascoe went into ‘one’s got my name on it’ mode, despite little in the way of run-rate pressure. Someday, Pascoe will probably nail the type of reverse sweep he posted to Noah Carlisle off Ormsby to make the score 66-5, but not this day. That became 71-7 as Jason Hall took two in two balls. Green (41 from 30) was able to hit Jack Ormsby out of the attack with 3 sixes in an over, before playing a shot too many to Elliott Staddon. At 89-8, Australian Jonah Serong and Peter Bradley demonstrated what was possible with a rugged 43 for the 9th wicket. Cornwood had another option though, as Ben Beaumont also took 2 in two balls to secure the 48 run win.
Plympton’s win over Exmouth ensured Bovey Tracey are an A Division side next season. The Premier Division title was also wrapped up as Sandford recorded their 13th win of the season with a heavy roller job over Heathcoat. Bradninch & Kentisbeare beat Sidmouth to go second on 237 with the Ones and Sidmouth tied on 236. Four more points would represent the Ones highest ever total in the Premier Division. One more Cornwood win would mean a club record for a Premier Division season and a probable podium finish. However, the Ones will be without key players next week due to involvement in Devon’s National Championship play off against Buckinghamshire. We will be cheering all the Devon lads as they go for their first Championship since 2011.
Bank Holiday Monday saw the Women’s Ones head north to Hatherleigh needing a win to be absolutely certain of their place in Division One. Short of strength at the top of the order, Gemma Lancaster knew when the team were put into bat that a Captain’s innings was the order of the day. Gemma delivered in spades when it mattered with a sparkling century from 125 balls containing 10 boundaries. She was only three balls short of batting through the whole 35 overs, glueing the side together as they reached a total of 170-7 from their 35 overs.
The whole of the Women’s Ones team then backed Gemma’s effort up with a dominant performance in the field to claim a 91 run win. There were five run outs shared between Sarah Martin, Sofia Oxenham, Hannah Bale and Kat Frost. With boundaries at a premium, Hatherleigh only scored 2 in their innings, taking away the singles crushed Hatherleigh’s hopes of reaching the target. The bowling unit also made sure opportunities for runs were in short supply with economical figures across the board. Laura Bale picked up two late wickets, but pick of the day was Kat Frost opening the bowling with an impressive 5.1-2-4-1. Hatherleigh were bowled out for 79.
It was a close encounter at Oak Park on Saturday as the Twos beat a decent Kingsbridge team by 10 runs. At Kingsbridge in June, the Twos saw a total of 224 chased down. A total that high looked improbable when, having been put into bat, The Twos collapsed to 114-7. There was a bright start as Ben Griffiths hit his third 50 of the season in 69 balls. He was well supported by Finn Torley as they put on 58 for the second wicket. The game changed in the over after drinks as Bhanu De Silva took 3 wickets in 4 deliveries, denied a hat-trick by a wide in the middle. De Silva (9-2-31-4) and Jack Brown spun the visitors in a match-winning position.
Ethan Carlisle transformed the match with a stunning 85 in 45 balls. If there is such a thing as being ‘in the zone’, Ethan was there before a short rain break curtailed his momentum. He reached his fifty in 25 balls before hitting another 17 from James Westlake in four balls. Ethan hit 7 fours and 5 towering sixes. Four bombs hit or went over the pavilion while one disappeared behind the sight screen. Kingsbridge had no answers and Cornwood were back in the game with a total of 221.
James Westlake and Jack Brown were able to make an opening stand of 58 in 14 overs to get ahead of the game. Our guest umpire from Plympton, Steve Marks, who put in an impressive shift umpiring from both ends, rewarded Dan Skeemer with two LBWs in two balls. Using the DLS par as a guide, the match was basically neck and neck from that point. Jack Brown (55 in 106) and Freddie Ford (55 in 70) both deserved their fifties with quality batting. The Twos managed to stay in the game though. Matt Puttock contained with off-spin and Joe Davies delivered the most controlled spell of his young career.
Wickets started to fall when Jack Brown chipped Ben Griffiths to square leg. The Twos can be proud of their performance in the field. Kingsbridge were only able to score 3 boundaries after their drinks break. That led to the kind of pressure that saw Ford run out on a throw from deep midwicket by Josh Goodliffe. Kingsbridge have a long tail, and while Farzad Safi is only a few years shy from being capable of something similar to what Ethan Carlisle did, it’s not his time yet. With seven overs left, Kingsbridge were on 175-4, needing 48 from 42 balls. Ethan Carlisle and Dan Skeemer closed the game out effectively for a 10 run win. Dan Skeemer took the late wickets to finish with lifetime best figures of 9-1-28-4. It was a whole team effort from the Twos to get the win, but particularly satisfying to see plenty of key performances from the younger members of the team.
The Threes went to South Devon with a mathematical long-shot sliver of a shout at promotion still alive. That hope needed already promoted Paignton 3XI to beat second place Bridestowe 2XI. By 1:30, Paignton slipped to 13-8 and then 45 all out. Back at South Devon, Tom West was able to put runs on the board with 45 from 38. After Tom’s wicket fell, Louis Hargreaves caused a collapse with figures of 7-2-17-5 and the Threes ended 109 all out. There were good bowling spells for both Mike Hodge and Josh Wood in the South Devon innings, but the hosts chased the total down with just under 15 overs spare. F Division West has been a strangely even league this year. The Threes are still joint third but just seven points separate them from eighth placed Babbacombe. Any team not promoted or relegated from F Division this year is mid-table.
The Fours knew before their game started that they needed 7 points against PCS&R to stay out of the relegation zone after an early cancellation from Plympton 3XI. PCS&R needed a win to stay neck and neck with Stoke Gabriel for the chance to be mid-table in F Division West next year. Having elected to bat, it was tough going for the Fours. Both PCS&R opening bowlers, Matt Ball (8-1-45-3) and Phillip White (8-2-34-3), took three wickets. Paul Skeemer top scored with 35 in a total of 137. After some tea time rain, that target was reduced to 110 from 27 overs. Some big hitting from Nur Ahmed with 36 including 2 fours and 4 sixes meant PCS&R reached the total with just under 8 overs spare. The Fours drop to 9th, but still with their destiny in their hands. The equation is simple next week, win at Bovey Tracey and stay up.
On Monday evening, the Under 19s played Plymouth in a crucial qualification match at Oak Park. I’ll tell you more about that one next week.
Next week, The Ones round out the season against Sandford at Oak Park. The Twos head to Stoke Gabriel. The Threes play Babbacombe Twos at Delamore Park and the Fours go to Buckfastleigh needing to beat Bovey Tracey Fours. Sunday sees one last game of the season at Oak Park for the Women’s Ones as they take on Plympton.