Last pair sit tight and deny Sidmouth precious victory as title bid loses pace.

PUBLISHED: 11:31 05 August 2011

Matt Hewer for Sidmouth at the weekend when they were playing Hatherleigh. Photo by Terry Ife ref shsp 7222-29-11TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Matt Hewer for Sidmouth at the weekend when they were playing Hatherleigh. Photo by Terry Ife ref shsp 7222-29-11TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

THE first of two local derbies tomorrow (Saturday, August 6), for Sidmouth will give a good indication of where they will stand in the Francis Clark Devon Cricket League premier division at the close of the season, writes John Goodwin..

Failure, only just, to defeat leaders North Devon last Saturday has confirmed skipper Will Murray in his belief that his side will not retain the championship.

But tomorrow’s visit of Exmouth and the following week’s trip to Budleigh Salterton should go a long way to decide who occupies the runners-up spot.

Sidmouth came with in an ace of defeating North Devon, a necessity if they were to be caught.

In an unusually low scoring game for the Instow ground, which had been affected by a torrential downpour the previous day, Sidmouth had the home side hanging on at 143-9 in reply to 166-9.

A catch was spilled as Sidmouth sought the decisive wicket and a confident shout for lbw on the final ball of the match was turned down.

Sidmouth took 13 points from the draw to North Devon’s eight, and the gap between the clubs with five games to go is 31 points. Closer are Budleigh Salterton whose 19-point win over Exmouth saw them leapfrog Sidmouth into second place.

Ball was always in command over bat in the Instow clash and Sidmouth’s best knocks after being inserted came from Neil Hancock, with 52, and Anthony Griffiths, with a patient 42.

When the reply started Sidmouth got a bonus wicket when Alex Smith, answering a rash call from Rob Gear, was run out by Jamie Wardrop after playing Josh Bess’s opening over safely.

Better was to follow when Will Murray, opening the bowling instead of coming on second change, removed Craig Overton and Rob Gear, who edged to wicketkeeper Ben Gledhill and Neil Hancock respectively, in successive overs to put the score at 35-3.

At 50 after 19 overs North Devon lost their fourth and fifth wickets in consecutive balls of Will Gater’s fifth over.

Gater followed up with another strike an over later and when Luke Bess got a direct hit run-out the home side were in some disarray at 66-7.

Resisting everything had been Dan Bowser, but his dismissal for 49, caught by Murray off Josh Bess, gave Sidmouth 10 overs at the last pair.

Mark Westaway proved the thorn in their side, making an unbeaten 31 at number 10 off 71 balls and pairing up with Paul Heard, who made two in 26 balls, to keep the visitors at bay. They took the score from 119-9 to 143 at the close.


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