Frustration as off’ games affect title race

PUBLISHED: 17:36 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:13 15 June 2010

A near total wipe out of the Francis Clark Devon cricket League has left the season with just two weekends of fixtures to play and for many sides, it is effectively now a. two game shoot out , to determine many of the ups and downs of the various divisions.

A near total wipe out of the Francis Clark Devon cricket League has left the season with just two weekends of fixtures to play and for many sides, it is effectively now a. 'two game shoot out', to determine many of the ups and downs of the various divisions.

The total 'washout' count now stands at 398 matches and, with 1031 scheduled to have been played to date, it means that so far, this soggy season, some 38 per cent of the entire cricket programme has not been played owing to inclement weather!

E Division has seen 30 of its 80 matches washed away to date and that represents 45 per cent of the scheduled programme. Honiton have been hardest hit in the section with Saturday's game at Exeter Civil Service the seventh out of 16 matches not played! That amounts to very nearly half the Mountbatten Park side's entire season and, without doubt, that 'game off' count will have played a huge part in the fact that their brave promotion bid, is set to end in disappointment. They will have to make do with the tag of 'best of the rest' behind the two sides who will make the step up.

It's the short trip to Cullompton for the last away game of the season for Pete Matravers' side this weekend. They end the campaign a week later with a Mountbatten Park game against Woodbury

In D Division, Ottery St Mary have been forced to call off five of their 16, compare that with Hatherleigh's wash out count of three from 16 and you can see why the North Devon outfit are going to go up and John Tierney's side are left to face another season in the section.

It really is as straightforward as that in this soggy season. Tierney's men have two to play, their final away match on Saturday at Thorverton and end the campaign seven days later at home to Dawlish.

Uplyme's season is all but over. They cannot now gain promotion and there's certainly no danger of Ashley Caddy's side going down. They end their campaign with Saturday's trip to relegation-threatened Dawlish before welcoming Hatherleigh for the final contest of the season a week later.

The Chardstock and Upottery involvement in the G Division Plate was ruined by the weather and, with the semi-finals scheduled for next weekend Chardstock decided to 'concede' the tie. Upottery now go through to meet Shaldon in the semi final, that will now, weather permitting, take place this Saturday afternoon. The same watery grave befell Yarcombe & Stockland's tie at Topsham St James and they were playing a 20 over game last night (Tuesday), in Exeter, to determine who goes through to a last four meeting with Newton St Cyres on Saturday afternoon.

If the weather is playing havoc with the hopes and aspirations of our sides in the lower Divisions of the Francis Clark Devon League then it is a similar picture being created amongst local sides in the higher divisions.

Seaton and Feniton are left with their respective season's 'over', neither is threatened by the drop and both are too far off the pace to have any say in the promotion race. Mike Wheeler's side have lost five matches to the weather and that means that almost one third of the schedule has been lost to the heavens above. They cannot now stop Kingsbridge taking the second promotion berth.

However, Seaton can yet finish as the 'best of the rest', and will do so if they win their final home game this coming weekend when they host troubled Kilmington and then see off hosts Stoke Gabriel, whom they travel to on the final day of the season a week later.

Feniton finish their Acland Park campaign with Saturday's visit of Chagford and they can do East Devon neighbours Kilmington a massive favour by beating the visitors. Mark Kingdom's side finish their schedule a week later with a trip to Tiverton.

Ian Gooding's Kilmington, as well as looking for a 'Feniton favour' on Saturday, need to bank points from a trip to Seaton to give themselves a chance of sealing safety on the final day when they are scheduled to host Kingsbridge.

It is going to be 'touch and go' for Gooding and his men for, going into those last two encounters they are just five points above Chagford, and so, as long as they can stay that way, or in other words 'match' Chagford's last two games, then they will be safe. After the game at Feniton, Chagford host Ivybridge.

l The 2nd XI programme has been just as badly hit by the inclement weather.

In the A Division, where Axminster II are battling to avoid the drop, every single side has lost at least five of their matches to the weather.

With 40 points to contest Axminster find themselves second from bottom. Survival is very much in their own hands though as they meet two sides who are also in the bottom third of the table.

This coming weekend it's a 'massive' encounter at Barton, who will begin the day one place and a dozen points better off, and this is a 'survival' game. An Axminster win and the season will run to its last matchday, but defeat in South Devon and Andrew Guppy's side will almost certainly doomed before they meet Shobrooke Park on the final day a week later.

Axminster III and Ottery St Mary II are both involved in a battle to preserve C Division status in the 2nd XI competition. The Otters are much better off than the Cloakham Lawn outfit and one positive result from matches against Kingsbridge (home) and Ivybridge (away), should suffice.

There is work to be done for Axminster though who must bank serious points from meetings with first, Ipplepen, this Saturday, and then, a week later, Kingsbridge.

One fascinating fact is that both the Axminster II and III teams have 'must win' games on Saturday against the sides immediately above them in their respective Divisions.

Uplyme II and Upottery II are both involved in very similar battles to bank points over the last two weekends of the season.

At the top of the E Division East table, Uplyme can still grab promotion, whilst Upottery go into their last two knowing that they simply have to take something tangible from a trip to Countess Wear, and first, this Saturday, at home to Feniton.

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