Words: Simon Travers
As is traditional at season’s end, the batting order for this week’s Sweep is reversed. We start in Buckfast with the Fours playing against Bovey Tracey 4s in the one game with implications for next season. A few weeks ago, the Fours looked comfortable and adjusted to life in G Division. A run of losses meant that coming into the game the equation was simple, win and stay up or lose and face relegation.
After the miserably grey second half of the season, Buckfastleigh Cricket Club delivered all the peaceful attractions you could hope for from village cricket. Intense sunshine, a panoramic vista over Dartmoor, a hawk in the distance soaring, a paper plateful of cheesy wotsits left over from tea, stillness and hush. The pitch was playable, while the outfield was gearing up for the rugby season.
Bovey won the toss and batted, with three loanees from Buckfastleigh given the honour of opening the batting or bowling. The first twenty overs of the innings belonged to the Fours as a fine opening spell from Anthony Goodwin (8-2-11-1) was backed up with tight bowling from Sam Ford (8-0-28-1) and Stanley Baker (8-0-17-1). With wickets in hand for a second half push, Bovey were able to pick up the run rate. John Willerton top scored with 30, and Timothy Brodbelt hit 21 from 14. Simon Garland got Bovey’s captain and two late wickets for best figures of 5-0-27-3. Bovey Tracey scored 162-9 in their 40 overs.
The Fours innings started in much the same fashion as Bovey’s, with the team in a comparable position at 60-3 after 21 overs. Darren Greep (8-0-14-2) was able to sneak by the defences of Barrie Fitzpatrick and Phillip Gibson. The game was set up and it felt like just one innings was needed to tilt the match for the Fours. Mark Whaley got the closest with 25 from 34 balls, but subsidence set in as 68-3 became 92-8. The main reason for that collapse was Lily Colwill, Bovey Tracey’s opening bowler for their women’s team. If the female of the species was deadlier than the male, that’s because Colwill has a killer slower ball. Her stock ball is reasonably paced, accurate and was hard for the Fours to get away, but the slower ball floated, then stuck in the pitch and created havoc. Colwill’s figures of 5.1-0-21-4 were enough to leave the fours 36 runs and 6 league points short of their target.
Back at Delamore Park, the Threes faced Babbacombe 2XI, with the possibility of finishing the season anywhere between 3rd and 8th in the table. The contest swung towards Babbacombe early as openers Billy Alcock (67) and Marcus Tanton (56) put on an opening stand of 144 before Jake May bowled one and ran out the other. Babbacombe pressed hard but momentum started swinging back towards the Threes with a special moment. This year’s Under 13s captain Ayaan Chattejee took his first wicket in adult cricket by bowling Daniel Machin for 19. Ayaan was then able to back that up with a further two wickets to finish with excellent figures of 8-0-39-3. Evie Privett backed Ayaan up with figures of 6-1-23-2 as Babbacombe set a total of 238-8.
In response, the best of the Threes’ innings was a blend of generations. He’s played 114 DCL games across the four Saturday teams, but Captain Sam Griffiths still qualifies as a young player. Sam got the Threes off to a good start with aggressive intent against the Babbacombe openers. He found the boundaries and the gaps for the Threes to reach 70-2 in 14.2 overs. Sam then combined with Nick Goodliffe to put 60 runs on in the next ten overs before he was caught for 70 from 57 balls. That innings was Sam’s first 50 of the year and makes him the only player apart from Ewan Grewal to reach 200 runs for the Threes this year.
The team needed 108 from 15 overs for a comeback win and Nick Goodliffe was in the mood to keep going. He pressed on with five boundaries to reach 50 from 69 balls, his first since 27th July, 2019. Nick achieved the ultimate in 50-and-outs by running for half-century, turning around and heading back for a second only to be run out. For the win, the Threes needed another of the younger guns to fire with Nick but that did not happen. Wickets fell regularly and The Threes ended on 205-9 and in 6th place in F Division West.
Having secured their Division One status for next season, the Women’s Ones hosted Plympton on Sunday in their last game of the year. While Plympton have not been close to champions Exeter this season, they are still a step ahead of the pack. No one has scored more runs in Division One this season than Jemima Vereker’s total of 455. She emphasised her top spot with 111 in 109 balls for her second century this year. Shini Al Khalid and Olivia Gibson both took two wickets in a Plympton total of 192-6.
That proved to be 48 too many for the Women’s Ones despite a knock of 41 from Evie Privett. Jemima Vereker and Stephanie Hutchins opened the bowling and it was Hutchins who did the damage with 6-1-13-4. It was not the Women’s Ones week, but a glance at the statistics shows Cornwood are the only Division 1 team with 3 batters in the top 10 run getters, Evie Privett, Gemma Lancaster and Becky Harris. A strong top order and players coming in through the season are some of the many reasons to be optimistic about coming seasons.
The Men’s Ones hosted this year’s champions Sandford at Oak Park with a trophy presentation ceremony before the game. The Firsts were depleted as key squad members Max Finzel, Ben Beaumont and Matt Skeemer were rested before the start of the National Counties Championship playoff on Sunday. Captain Elliott Staddon top scored with 31 as the Ones struggled to get through the gears. They were bowled out for 102 in 31.1 overs. All but one of Sandford’s wins this year have come chasing a target and Dikshanshu Negi made quick work with 70* in 34 balls. Negi’s consistency with the bat, scoring 746 with 7 fifties and a hundred, and ability to spin the ball both ways to take 43 wickets at 9.21 make him the outstanding player of the Premier Division season.
The Ones finish fourth, their highest ever Devon Cricket League placing. They’ve matched last year’s number of wins and came within 1 point of last year’s points total while cancelling 4 games for weather. It’s been a good year for the team.
The Twos knew they were finishing fourth as they travelled with a youthful, mostly inexperienced side to Stoke Gabriel. The home team were looking for a prompt start and finish and had picked a full-strength squad. Put into bat, the youngsters didn’t do a lot wrong but also didn’t do a great deal right either. Finn Torley top scored with 25 as the Twos made 74. Josh Wood took 2 for 17 but it only took 12.4 overs for Stoke Gabriel to reach their target with 7 wickets spare.
Across the teams Cornwood put out on Saturday, there were 2 Under 13s, 4 Under 15s, 6 Under 19s, and another 4 of university age playing. There were another 6 Under 19s on playing Monday who were unavailable for the weekend. Combined, that is two full elevens of young players putting their hands up, wanting to wear a Cornwood badge. Those players are the tip of the iceberg as momentum gathers with our colts system.
That is an exciting achievement even on a weekend clean sweep of losses. It reminds me of a quote from an old leadership book I read that has stuck with me. It said ‘youth work is pay-per-view’ and there’s some truth in that for Cornwood. Experience is the indispensable element to winning at all levels of the DCL but the only way to get that is to learn by experience, which means a lot of patient trial and failure. We believe our next generation will do plenty and soar like hawks over Dartmoor, but they won’t do anything alone and it won’t happen overnight. It really does take a village.
The Under 19s have done plenty this season, reaching Finals Day by the barest of margins as they tied with Plymouth on Bank Holiday Monday. Finn Torley and Noah Carlisle made a crucial positive start, as Cornwood scored 42-2 in the powerplay. Captain Ethan Carlisle was dominant with 51* from 33 balls against Plymouth’s spin-based attack. Scoring was hard for everyone else as the Under 19s posted a total of 127-6.
That total looked plenty as Josh Cumberland tore through the Plymouth top order with figures of 4-0-4-3. Plymouth reached 21-4 in their powerplay and needed a rebuild. 69 runs for the 5th wicket between Teddy Haffenden (28) and Aziz Rahmanzai brought the game back into the balance. Aziz kept going to the last over before being forced to retire on 50* from 50. Although they got two run outs, the Under 19s were perhaps not as sharp in the field as they would hope and by the last over, Plymouth only needed 8 to win. Credit to Harrison Hodge who stepped in and bowled a nerveless, accurate death over. The match was left perfectly tied with Plymouth finishing on 127-6.
Tied Under 19 games are supposed to be decided by powerplay but the umpires ruled that the light had become unplayable. After consultation with the league, Cornwood won on countback from the powerplay. Finals day happens at Oak Park next Saturday and the Sweep will cover all the action.
One last word about Monday night. In the aftermath of the match, when there was some confusion about what needed to happen, and some tempers were stretched, Nick Goodliffe played a blinder. In a 20 minute stretch, I witnessed him defend his lads and the team’s position, uphold the league and their regulations, and empathise with the Plymouth managers. Nick is your walking, talking spirit of cricket, and he’s still got it with the bat too.