Sidmouth CC - champs all round!

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:17 15 June 2010

It just had to be, didn't it? The final matchday of the 2008 Francis Clark Devon County League was played out in near perfect conditions, writes Stephen Birley.

It just had to be, didn't it? The final matchday of the 2008 Francis Clark Devon County League was played out in near perfect conditions. After a season of soggy Saturdays matchday 18 was played in wall-to-wall sunshine and, as a result, we at long last got the chance to enjoy some real cricket.Axminster's final B Division outing saw them beat Shobrooke Park by 16 runs and once again the foundations of the success came via the bat of Gary Larcombe who hit yet another half century. Larcombe (56) and Paul Miller (47) led the side to a close of 182-8 and then Larcombe bagged a brace of wickets as he played what was very much a 'bowling support' role to Robbie Prior who marked the final game of the season with a 'fivefer'. Prior finished with figures of 5-27 and Shobrooke Park were bowled out for 166.Feniton had travelled to Bickleigh for their last C Division game of the campaign and were beaten by two wickets in the final over of the contest. Dave Haysom (50), Nick Robertson (33) and Jamie Easterbrook (23) combined to lead Mark Kingdom's side to 158-9 and then Russ Whitton and John Pyle both sent down their quota of overs, bagging a brace of wickets each and going for just two runs an over. Mike Salter also took a couple of wickets but the home side claimed their narrow win in the final over. Skipper Kingdom said: "It was a decent total on their ground for us and then we very nearly bowled our way to the win so I am pleased that we have played some good cricket, albeit on the final day of what has been a horrible season. What with the weather and some availability problems we have not fielded the same XI in two consecutive games. Now most of us can swap cricket whites for football gear and go and help the Feniton cause in the bigger ball game and hope that when we revert back to cricket next summer we enjoy some better weather."Kilmington were in a final day mission to avoid the drop. They simply 'had to win' their game and hope that Chagford lost theirs. It turned out that Chagford drew their game with Ivybridge and banked 13 points which meant that whatever Kilmington managed would not be enough. Ian Gooding's side fell to a 44 run defeat at the hands of a Kingsbridge side who next year will play their cricket in the B Division whilst for Gooding and his men it is at least one season back in the D Division where they will once again lock horns with East Devon sides Ottery St Mary and Uplyme & Lyme Regis.Seaton's season had effectively ended a couple of weeks before when yet another contest had been washed out. They said goodbye to another season of disappointment with a seven wicket defeat at the hands of Stoke Gabriel. David Cottam (53), Ben Copp (37) and Greg Foxwell (27) scored the bulk of the side's total of 189. Morgan then took two of the three Stoke wickets to fall as they cruised to victory inflicting on Mike Wheeler's side a fifth defeat, and leaving Seaton finishing the C Division season in fifth place.In the D Division Ottery took maximum points from their final game and in doing so condemned Dawlish to at least one campaign in the E Division. Australian Brian Burns signed off for the season with a magnificent century whilst Robert Bradshaw-Smith chipped in with yet another cultured half century as the Otters posted a healthy 230-5 and then they bowled out the visitors for 198 to seal the win.Uplyme managed to finish fourth and are certainly well set to go two better next season. They completed their campaign with a crushing win over promotion seeking Hatherleigh who, just three weeks ago, had looked firm favourites to be one of the promoted sides. They arrived at Uplyme knowing they simply had to win, and, if a couple of other results went in their favour, then they would be go up. However, Uplyme were treated to a Caddy brothers 'master class' with ball and then bat. Ashley Caddy took 4-14 as he and Steve Batey (4-44), combined to bowl out the visitors for 149 and the Adam Caddy clubbed a quick fire 50 before he was one of three to return to the pavilion being adjudged lbw. The score, 125-2, seemed to set the home side up for a big win, but three further wickets were lost before the game was sealed at 151-5.Whimple were one of the four D Division 'basement dwellers' who began the final day knowing that they simply had to win and face a nervous wait to see what happened elsewhere. But by stumps at Whimple it didn't matter what was happening any where else for the home side could only manage a losing draw and the nine points they took left them finishing second from bottom and they will join Dawlish in the E Division next season. The outcome of the game was tough on young Will Cleal who bagged a brace of wickets in the visitors' 249-7 and then top scored with 40 as the home side closed the game on 189-9.Honiton will renew rivalry with Whimple in next year's E Division. The Mountbatten Park men said goodbye to this season with a resounding 108 run win over a Woodbury side who slipped into the F Division as a result of the defeat and, once again, Phil Tansley made a match-winning contribution. This stop-start season has hit Pete Matravers' side more than most and yet, when they have been able to play, Tansley has been in magnificent form with both bat and ball. Andy Canniford stroked his way to 89, helping his side to a close of 173 and then Tansley worked up some pace and claimed six wickets for just three runs and also helped himself to a final day hat-trick as Woodbury were blown away for just 65.The G Division Plate final at Upottery produced a run feast with 626 being scored and at the close of play just four runs separated the sides! Batting first Yarcombe & Stockland, who had finished the season as runners up to title-taking Upottery, scored 315-9 led by Simon Durrant with a magnificent 126. Durrant and Matt Hammond (93) put on 175 for the fourth wicket and inside just 20 overs, this after the score board had shown 27-3. Durrant smashed four sixes and also weighed in with fifteen fours but that hitting was overshadowed by the exploits of Hammond who smashed no fewer than ten sixes in an innings that lasted just 74 balls. The Upottery run chase was a credit to their side and, led by a superb century from Sheamus Machin (117), they got so very close to making it successful, only to fall an agonising single boundary short of the visitors' tally. Upottery II got the points they needed in their final game of the league season but they couldn't force a last day win, going down to Countess Wear II by 95 runs in a game that confirmed the opposition as being one of the two promoted sides. The Exeter team amassed 268 for just two wickets, taken by Simon Bath and James Woolacott, the latter marking his first ever game for the side with a wicket. Bruce Inglis then hit a cultured 74 but the visitors' bowlers were always on top and the Upottery reply floundered on 173 with the last wicket falling off the final delivery of the contest. That precious third point that secured the Upottery status for next year came when George Steel stroked a shot through the covers to register the second batting point.

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