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The Sweep 24 Week 5: It’s a Skeemer Type of Day as Ones beat Exeter

Matt Skeemer celebrating taking Eddie Steele's wicket after a catch by George Thompson. Cornwood v Exeter 1/6/2024
Eddie Steele - C Thompson B Skeemer 15

Words: Simon Travers

Match Photos: Ivor Thomas


A quick look at the historical record between Cornwood and Exeter shows what might be called a schrodinger's stat, a stat that is two simultaneously opposite things. Exeter have won 11 of the 13 encounters between the two teams that have reached a complete result in the 21st Century, but they also haven’t won at Oak Park since 2013. Exeter have started positively, comfortably chasing Heathcoat and squeaking past Paignton last Saturday. As the teams met at Oak Park, the Ones were hoping for a sunnier day after last Saturday’s bad light against Sidmouth.

From first strike with the new ball to the last pulled boundary, Matt Skeemer directed events as the Ones delivered their third win of the year. Exeter won the toss and batted. Australian opener Eddie Steele looked uncomfortable against Skeemer and eventually was tempted into edging an outswinger to George Thompson. Ben Privett summoned fire and was rewarded with figures of 6.1-2-24-3. By the time that Billy Buckingham’s front edge chipped to Chris Parker at point, Exeter were behind the game at 72-5. Matt Skeemer finished with figures of 10-4-17-3.

Sam Read is having a strong start for Devon and Cardiff University and he led a fightback. Read’s 59 from 39 balls with 4 fours and 5 sixes is his third Premier Division 50 of the season. Wickets kept falling around him though and when he too edged to George Thompson from Elliott Staddon’s bowling, the end came swiftly. Exeter were bowled for 158 in 35.1 overs.

Jacob Caunter gets Exeter Captain Joe Gore LBW for 9 Cornwood v Exeter 1/6/24
Joe Gore - LBW B Jacob Caunter 9

A mini collapse at the top of the order demonstrated that things can still go wrong going after chasable totals. Three wickets for Exeter captain Joe Gore put the Ones on 59-4 after 10 overs and still needing 100 for the win. Matt Skeemer stepped in and instantly found the boundary. He led a stabilising partnership of 44 with Chris Parker and then knocked the rest of the runs with Elliott Staddon providing support. Matt finished on 67* from 60 balls with seven fours and two sixes to secure a five wicket victory. Exeter have still not won at Oak Park since 2013.

Chris Parker Batting against Exeter 1/6/24
Chris Parker Batting

Matt’s all round performance was arguably the pick of the Premier weekend. In other games, Jackson Thompson stuck around to the end as Sandford just kept their chase streak alive against Bovey Tracey. Bradninch & Kentisbeare won big against Paignton, Heathcoat beat Sidmouth and Plympton got on the board with a win over Exmouth. The Ones stay third, 19 points behind Sandford.

Earlier in the week on Wednesday, the Ones T20 campaign came to an early end with a 3 wicket loss to Plymouth. Three late wickets from Aziz Rahmanzai meant the Ones were all out for 107. Plymouth chased that with Mohammad Siddiqui scoring 49* from 37.

The Twos took the short hop to Mountwise as favourites for a derby match with Plymouth 2XI. Cornwood’s innings proved to be a mixed bag for both teams as the Twos set a target of 229. Plymouth were below par in the field and might feel that if they made the most of their chances that score would have been 50 less. On the other hand, the Twos might feel they could have added another 50 if they had capitalised on a good position. 5 of Cornwood’s top 6 made more than 20 but then got out caught on the drive. Josh Goodliffe (43) and Sam Griffiths (32) both showed how they continue to grow into their role as top order batters but also left runs on the park. Young Azir Rahmanzai (9-2-32-4) spun the match towards Plymouth with a hat-trick across 2 overs to put the Twos at 141-7. It took a 61 run 8th wicket partnership from Jason Hall (31) and Adam Goodliffe to carry the Twos to full batting points. Adam top scored with 51 from 48 before he became Plymouth wicketkeeper Peter Evan’s fifth catch and Ben Smith’s fourth wicket (8.4-1-49-4) of the afternoon.

From ball one of Plymouth’s reply, fielding was the deciding factor in the Two’s win. Robin Dart took a high-quality diving reflex catch at slip to set the tone. That effort was backed up by Charles Finan’s direct hit run out from mid on. Josiah Caunter took the catch of the afternoon, an over the shoulder diving effort at long leg as Ed Lockett mistimed a pull from Joe Davies. Those breakthroughs helped put Plymouth at 64-5, which became 104-8 with 15 overs remaining. The 9th wicket proved harder as Tom Hughes made 69 from 72 and Ben Smith 35*. The Twos kept patient and dropped nothing in the deep. The Plymouth innings ended on 188 with a second run out for Charles Finan. Mission accomplished for the Twos in back-to-back 20 point wins, but with the caveat that another side might have punished their batting generosity. 

The Threes had the strangest Saturday as they crossed the wrong ley line somewhere around Totnes and found themselves tumbling through a timewarp against a Stoke Gabriel 2XI team intent on batting for a losing draw like it was 1989. Stoke 2’s form has been strong on the back of their bowling attack. Coming into the match, Andy Ball had 11 wickets at an average of 2.55 and Patrick Duke had 7 wickets at an average of 5.29. Tom West started the innings positively with 38 from 32 before he was run out. Patrick Duke took 3-23 but Ball was wicketless as Sam Ford (34) and Mike Hodge made an 89 stand for the fourth wicket. There are few things at Cornwood more entertaining than Mike Hodge on a mission with bat in hand and today was his day. He hit 79 from 58 with 5 fours and 7 sixes before he was caught and bowled by Sanjog Dabholkar (8-1-35-3). The lower order couldn’t find full throttle in the final overs, but a total of 220 was impressive.

Josh Cumberland (8-1-19-3) settled the match within 5 overs of the Stoke Gabriel reply, reducing them to 11-3. From there, the hosts decided to park the bus rather than try to chase the total. They finished on 81-6 from 40 overs, eeking out two batting points. The Threes bowled 14 maidens, with 6 coming from the arm of Andy Bees. Albert Courtice channelled the karmic energy of Hashim Amla and Joe Denly as he made 15* from 95 balls in an innings interrupted for injury. The Threes win their fourth on the bounce by 139 runs. It’s tight at the top of F Division West with the Threes in third on 81 points, Bovey Tracey 3s in second on 82 points and Chudleigh 2nds top on 83 points. Only extras made double figures as Chudleigh 2s got thrashed by bottom place Kingsbridge 2s.

Anthony Chapman Batting for Cornwood 4XI vs PCS&R 2XI 1/6/24
Anthony Chapman Batting

The Fours had a positive afternoon although the result did not go their way against PCS&R 2XI. Last year, PCS&R 2s bowled the Fours out for 137 and 144. Put into bat, everyone made double figures as the team reached 176/4 in their 40 overs. Charles Knight hit seven fours on the way to 37 and Anthony Chapman was there at the end with 41* from 43. PCS&R got ahead of the chase with a crunching 61 from 33 by Nuruz Zamal. Lee Baker spearheaded a comeback with 3 for 18 as the visitors dropped to 123-7. However, Matt Ball carried PCS&R home to a 3 wicket with 69* from 80 balls. Not quite the right result, but plenty of good performances. All 3 colts in the team contributed and 17 batting points from 5 games is as good as any team in G Division West.

Anthony Goodwin fields off his own bowling for Cornwood 4XI vs PCS&R 2XI 1/6/24
Nice footwork from Anthony Goodwin

Sunday saw the Fifths on manoeuvres away at Harberton where they were well beaten by 8 wickets. Matt Skeemer wasn’t the only family member in the runs this weekend as Paul Skeemer’s 43 was the highlight of an innings of 147. Harberton chased that down with 8 wickets and plenty of overs spare.

Team Photos of Under 11 Boys after Plymouth Match and Under 13 Girls after Ipplepen match
Cornwood Under 11 Boys and Under 13 Girls

In the colts, The boys Under 11s posted and 81 run victory over Plymouth Peverell in the league with Freddie shining in a strong team performance. There was a great result for the Girls Under 13s as they recorded two wins on Sunday over Ipplepen and Chagford. The team didn’t lose a wicket in batting 16 overs against Ipplepen as Nadine crunched a couple of fours on the way to 16. The match against Chagford was much closer and needed a committed team performance with real credit going to Imogen for a great over at the death. Trainers of the week were Zachary, Lauren, Freddie and Freddie.  Good effort from all concerned.

Finally, on a personal note, I’d like to plug that Issue 46 of the Nightwatchman, a quarterly journal produced by Wisden, will be on sale this month online and in good newsagents. In the middle of the issue, a number of short essays appear that received commendations in the Wisden writing competition 2023. One of those essays is mine, with some thoughts on the interplay between village and city and how that impacts the Hundred.

Next week, the Ones will need to make sure they have their National Trust cards ready to get a parking spot as they travel to Heathcoat. The Twos come home to another derby match against Yelverton Bohemians. The Threes face Babbacombe 2s at Delamore Park and the Fours are away at Ipplepen 3s. On Sunday, it’s a big match at Oak Park for the Women’s Firsts against Exeter. There’s room at Delamore for the Fifths to challenge a team of Ryan Gosling lookalikes from Kenn and the Delamore Women’s Softball team to play Ivybridge.

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