Words: Simon Travers
Photos: Ivor Thomas
With suntan lotion needed and the ground firming, a miserable spring started to recede into memory on Week 3 of the season. At Oak Park, there was pre-match talk of a few cracks showing in the playing surface, while for the first time this year a steady north-east breeze provided respite rather than a reason to grab a second jumper.
The Ones made their first road trip of the year to Paignton. At the height of last summer’s heatwave, this fixture was an explosive Bista and Saxena inspired run-fest. You’d say that anyone expecting the same would have been disappointed, except that the Ones delivered a low-scoring thriller instead.
Put into bat, Cornwood lost both their openers within 3.2 overs. The game within a game between the two overseas pros continued as Jay was caught off Saxena’s bowling after seven balls. Cornwood were immediately into rebuild mode at 9-2. Ryan Rickard headed to the crease in his 100th First XI appearance. He knows how to adapt to the challenges of the Queens Park pitch with a century there last year. Scoring 55 from 92 balls, Ryan provided 36 overs of rock solid, patient battling that allowed the team to build a score that was something to bowl at. At the other end, wickets regularly fell to both spin and seam. Charlie Ward was the pick of the Paignton bowling with 9-1-36-3. There was no dramatic collapse, but the team were unable to turn a handful of 20 or 30 partnerships into pressure on the bowlers. Cornwood’s last wicket fell at 157 with 4.4 overs outstanding.
Divyaansh Saxena is undoubtedly a matchwinner, capable of delivering a knockout blow against any attacks in the county. The Ones knew this from his two centuries against them last year that both went bigger than the total set in this match. Saxena again looked to dominate. 12 balls from the 36 he faced were dispatched to the boundary with seven going the distance. Jay Bista returned the earlier favour by taking Saxena’s wicket for 69 but Paignton had reached 98-1 in just 12.2 overs.
Jack Ormsby, announced this week as West Devon’s new Club and Community Coach, was introduced into the attack and claimed a couple of quick wickets. At the end of the 21st over, Paignton were on 118-3. Back at Oak Park, that moment froze the game as the temperamental Play Cricket servers stopped updating. All went quiet until around an hour later when there started to be mumblings and messagings that something unlikely had happened.
The over after the glitch hit, Jack Ormsby got an LBW decision on his way to impressive figures of 10-0-29-3. Then enter Lee Baker; the South End Steamroller, the Cornish Overseas Professional, setting the controls to unplayable. First over, Rory Medlock, one of Paignton’s brighter young cricketers, gone LBW for 5. Then two further LBWs in two balls to put Paignton on 137-7. The Paignton lower order crept to 149-7 before one golden over from Lee; a triple-wicket maiden. Steven George bowled, Sean Kirk caught by Elliott Staddon and one last LBW decision to remove Jack Harman. Man of the Match Lee finished with 7-1-24-6 and Cornwood won by 8 runs.
A win like this speaks to the One’s fighting spirit and belief this season, and also to the depth of talent currently available. The Ones are a settled, balanced team who have picked up last year’s momentum and hold plenty of players who can carry the team when needed. Paignton are competitive, but they fielded a team with 4 players who were regulars last season for a relegated second team. Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Plympton stunned Bovey Tracey and Sandford sneaked home past Sidmouth. That means there is only one team left unbeaten in the Premier Division, your top of the table Cornwood First XI.
Back at Oak Park, the most important piece of pre-match squad news was a debut for a Year 7 student Sofia in the catering team. Full credit to Sofia for a batch of Chocolate Orange cookies that delivered in spades on taste and presentation. If there are any other young cooks that would like to help with teas on Saturdays, contact events manager Helen Nicholls.
Ivybridge are playing C Division cricket this year for the first time since 2013. Unlike certain other West Devon teams last year, there was no talk from the visitors of not belonging at this level but Ivybridge represent a significant obstacle for the Twos. Winning the toss and batting, Ivybridge looked to pressurise Cornwood from the start. Four boundaries went towards the 3rd man area in the first five overs, but Chris Parker at point and Robin Dart at slip took early catches to place Ivybridge 43-2 after 7. The innings’ momentum settled, but a punchy 60 from 68 balls by Ivybridge captain Josh Zimmerman gave the visitors a platform for a big score. His wicket was part of a mini collapse that saw the visitors go from 120-3 to 131-6. Andy Bees found his groove on the way to figures of 9-0-37-3. Toby Borrow hit 34 from 26 late on to get Ivybridge up to 198.
In his first home game since 2016, Chris Parker led the chase with 51 in 58 balls including 7 fours and 2 bombs for six. Harry Woolway and Matthew Butterworth (36) showed maturity in pushing Cornwood towards their target. Credit must be given to Ivybridge for trusting their young spinners. Although captain Josh Zimmerman took more wickets with 3-33, seventeen-year-old Lewis Clark’s spell of 9-1-31-2 was the pick of the attack.
The tightness of the match was demonstrated when Harry Woolway’s wicket fell at 121-4 in 30 overs, the Twos were exactly on the DLS par score. From that point, the match was a neck and neck sprint to the line. Cornwood looked to have snuck slightly ahead at 176 for 5, needing 22 from 28 but Ivybridge roared back with a wicket an over for the next five overs. With the scores level, Ivybridge first team debutant Jake Dunn took the catch that left the game tied. The return match on the 22nd July will be a firecracker.
On Sunday, the Women’s Ones started their Division One campaign with a comprehensive victory over Paignton. Evie Privett and Kat Frost, both playing their first games in Cornwood colours, starred with the bat. Evie became the second Privett of the weekend to record a century after her brother Ben recorded a ton for Plympton 1XI. Evie, with 117* in 102 balls, dominated the Paignton bowlers with seventeen boundaries including a front foot pull that brought up her century (see below). Kat Frost hit a run a ball 68* as the pair put on 170 unbeaten to set a target of 285-3. Wickets were shared around the bowling attack although Becky Harris recorded figures of 7-3-15-3. Paignton finished on 115, 170 short of victory.
The Threes faced a village first team for the second week running as they lost by 55 runs to South Brent on Saturday. The key to the Threes this season could be summed up as Project Playing Time with seven of the eleven picked under 20 years old. That made for tough going against a grizzled set of South Brent veterans. Captain Sam Griffiths took 4/23 and scored 33 up top and Josh Cumberland had a nice lower order cameo of 40 in 29 balls. However, South Brent showed the Threes how it is done. While that’s not necessarily a lot of fun, it is part of the package of developing the kind of club cricketers that know the game’s not over if you only score 157.
Back at Delamore Park, the Fours came a respectable second to an efficient Stoke Gabriel 2XI. Put into bat, the Fours made 175-9 in their 40 overs with Barrie Fitzpatrick top scoring with 41. That proved not enough as Patrick Duke (59) and Jijin Kerelam (65) both made scores to wrap up the chase with 11 overs spare. The father/son combination of Adam and Josh Whiting had the best moments in the field. Josh clean bowled Stoke opener David Stubbs first ball of the innings. Later, Adam put in a claim for catch of the year with a running backwards, over the shoulder, one handed, wrong handed miracle grab that came replete with a lap of honour and high fives for anyone in a 20 yard radius.
Earlier in the week, Josh Whiting put in arguably the best individual colts performance of a successful week with 27* and 4-18 as the U15 took the road trip to Lewdown and came back with a dramatic 3 run win. Earlier in the week they had cruised to victory against Menheniot/Looe. The Under 13s won 3 games against PCS&R, Buckland/Yelverton and Paignton. The Under 11s and Under 10s won their games too.
It's a bank holiday weekend next weekend, which is a great excuse to get along to a game if you can. It’s a top of the table clash at Oak Park as the Firsts try for their first win against Heathcoat since 2014. The Twos travel to Babbacombe. The Threes are at home to Chudleigh 2XI and The Fours visit Brixham 2XI.