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The Sweep 23 Week 4: Ones win the battle of the comebacks against Heathcoat.

Words: Simon Travers

 

The fourth weekend of the season started with a lovely moment recognising the achievements of club players. Full credit to #127 Robin Dart for his off-season research to identify each of the 167 Cornwood First Team players since the club joined the Devon Cricket League in 1984. The 107 players who represented the team before Play Cricket are honoured through a framed cap in the clubhouse. However, each first team player is now entitled to wear a baggy green Cornwood cap with a unique number representing their place in the club’s history in order of appearance. From #112 Andy Bees to #167 Jack Ormsby, players were presented with their caps at Friday’s colts night and before Saturday’s matches.


If you pay attention to the Play Cricket Live app’s pre-match prediction function, you might have noticed the Firsts came into their home game against Heathcoat as 8-11 favourites. The form book tells a different story as the Ones had not beaten Tiverton’s finest since July 2014 and fell short in two close games last year. While it is still very early in the season, this match represented a first versus second encounter with one point separating the sides before play.


Captain #126 Elliott Staddon won the toss and elected to chase. Pressure was immediately applied to the Cornwood bowlers in the shape of Heathcoat’s new professional Kumar Kushagra. Kushagra is an 18-year-old opener with a first-class double century after 12 games for Jharkand. From a first ball four onwards, he and Peter Randerson found the boundary repeatedly against the new ball to accelerate to 85-2 in 15.1 overs. Kushagra then found another gear, hitting four sixes within two overs as he rocketed towards his first DCL Century, scoring 129 from 107. Kushgara was caught by Jack Ormsby from the bowling of #147 Lee Baker (10-0-38-2) with the score on 228-5. With wickets in hand and 14 overs still to play with, the visitors must have been expecting a score well beyond the 300 mark.


However, the visitors were not able to get full batting points as Cornwood’s spin contingent collapsed Heathcoat to 246 all out in 42.1 overs. Players 7-11 in the Heathcoat order managed a solitary run as the ball ripped and #164 Jay Bista took 8-2-44-4 while #150 Ben Beaumont snagged 2 wickets in 7 balls. Cornwood remain the only Premier Division team to have bowled out every side they have faced so far this season.


246 was not the total that Heathcoat hoped for but bowling is the reason they have been a Top 3 side in Devon for the last 5 years. A confident opening stand of 57 for Bista and #158 Max Finzel, followed by an excellent 138 run collaboration between Jay and Ben Beaumont, put Cornwood in control. Beaumont had been dismissed for 73 from 85, but Jay brought up his first century of the season via a couple of fours off Jamie Drew. When he was caught off Joe Hancock (8-0-52-3), Jay had reached 108 from 105. In his first 3 games of 2022, Jay had scored 88 runs and taken 4/98. After 3 games this year, he has 152 runs and combined figures of 5/62.


With Jay out, the Ones needed 20 from 45 balls with six wickets remaining. This was not a formality as the game entered its dramatic last act. Two wickets in two balls from Jamie Drew (9.2-1-56-4) removed Staddon and Ormsby to put the score at 233-6. Jack Hatton got an LBW decision to dismiss #130 George Thompson with 11 still required. A crucial boundary from #159 Josh Coker helped the Ones close in on victory before he fell LBW to leave an extraordinary last over equation; two runs needed for Cornwood, one wicket required for Heathcoat. #155 James Richardson emphatically finished the match with a second ball six to claim the win by a solitary wicket. The One’s late innings comeback was fractionally better than Heathcoat’s and they stay unbeaten and top of the table.


Across the track at Delamore Park, a different kind of entertainment unfolded as the Threes demolished Chudleigh 2XI by 164 runs. Needing a win to kickstart their season, the Threes chose to bat. #166 Sam Griffiths was run out one shy of his fifty as the team progressed to a positive 83-3 after 17 overs. The game’s momentum decisively shifted next over as #134 Ewan Grewal hit Matt Bryant for 2 fours and a six. From there, Ewan and Jack Lane (35) smashed 19 boundaries between them in a partnership of 102 in 77 balls to put the score on 185/4 with 10 overs remaining. Mike Hodge then came, as they say, to the party. He and Ewan hit another 20 boundaries in the last 10 overs to push the Threes beyond 300 for the first time since 25th May, 2019, finishing on 312/4. Ewan registered his first Cornwood century with a phenomenal 139* from 77 balls with 16 fours and 9 sixes. Get that name on the Delamore Park honours board. Mike Hodge impressed with 56* from 27 with 5 fours and 4 sixes.


In reply, opener Ben Cowling batted through valiantly for 63 before being the last to fall with the score on 148. Josh Cumberland kept things tight up top with figures of 8-0-16-1. There were two wickets for Duncan Cumberland (8-1-31-2), and also for Under 15s players Sam Ford (6-1-14-2) and Harrison Hodge (5-0-37-2). A 20 point win places the Threes nicely in the middle of the F Division West table.


The Twos travelled to Babbacombe for the first time since 2019. The pitch played like a road. That road is Haldon Hill. Like a pinball machine, the batter’s job at the Walls Hill ground is to hit the ball as hard as you can and hope it gets up the slope. Aggression worked for #146 Ben Griffiths to register his first 50 of the season. Ben scored 66 from 58 as he and #140 Aaron Richards (42) made an opening stand of 120. Middle order progress was slowed by an efficient downhill spell from veteran spinner Paul Bates (9-0-29-1). There was a marked difference for the Babbacombe bowlers depending on their direction of travel. Bowling downhill, they kept the Twos to 126-5, but bowling uphill, Cornwood scored 182-3. Matt Puttock added a healthy portion of those runs with 47 from 27. Babbacombe gifted 52 extras and #152 Josh Goodliffe hit two last ball sixes (one was a no ball) for a total of 308-8. That is the Twos first time past 300 since a 288 run victory at Chagford on 23rd June 2018.


#125 Adam Goodliffe took the early wickets that sealed the contest in a spell of 9-1-46-3, assisted by economical uphill work from Andy Bees and #165 Harry Woolway. As the shadows lengthened and the echoing encouragements reverberated across the bowl, the Twos’ job became to plug away. Tim Goodwin provided lower order resistance for the hosts with 54* from 38. Captain Robin Dart worked in the closer role for figures of 3.5-0-24-3 to complete the 105 run victory. The Twos keep pace with the leading pack of Stoke Gabriel, Ivybridge and Brixham, while Babbacombe can reflect that their season gets easier after already facing 3 of the division’s top 4 teams.


The Fours lost by 55 runs on the road to Brixham against the top team in G Division West. 51 for Simon Caunter and 87 for Nathan Way took Brixham to an impressive 228-4 from their 40. Ross Mogridge was bowled to become Stanley Baker’s first adult wicket. Wickets fell early for the Fours, but they were able to bat their 40 overs to get 4 batting points with a total of 173/9. Adam Whiting would have top scored with 30 except that there were 34 extras.


In the Colts division this week, there were satisfying wins for the Under 11s and Under 13s against Whitchurch. The U10 Dels beat the Ivybridge Falcons and the U13 girls won two out of three in a tournament with Ipplepen, South Devon and Teignmouth & Shaldon. The Under 15s found life tougher this week with losses to Werrington and Ivybridge. Shoutout Colts performer of the week is Ayaan Chatterjee. Ayaan can play his shots and is developing a reputation as a challenging seam bowler. In the Under 13s win against Whitchurch, Ayaan got his second retirement 30* of the season from 18 balls and took 2-0-6-2. Against a tough Werrington batting line-up, he also took 4-0-27-2 for the U15s.


Next week, the challenges keep coming for the Ones as they visit a resurgent Sidmouth at the Fortfield. The Twos host Yelverton Bohemians and the Threes welcome Bridestowe 2XI. The Fourths have a trip to the Seaside against Paignton 4XI. On Sunday, the Women’s Ones travel to North Devon and there is a Wombat Cricket T20 Cup match at Bovey Tracey.

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