PAIGNTON'S hopes of making three in a row in the Devon Cup final were shattered yesterday as they went down by four wickets to Sidmouth at Bovey Tracey.

   Their chances of making it a hat-trick after wins over Exeter in 1998 and Budleigh Salterton last year, always looked on the slim side after being held to 139 for eight in their 40 overs.

   But Sidmouth didn't find it easy out there either and only had 13 balls to spare when they finally passed the target.

   Paignton got bogged down almost from the word go with opener Keith Benton, who lost partner Steve Edmonds in the third over, taking 77 balls to make 26 before he was the second of three wickets for Sidmouth seamer Will Murray.

   By the time Benton was fourth out on 85, skipper Justin Mann had come and gone for 33 off 56 balls, caught at mid-wicket, and Tim Ward had departed for 13.

   Eugene Moleon tried to raise the tempo in the last 10 overs and made 29 off 27 deliveries before he was caught going for the big hit into the bowling green behind long-on, ending a stand of 39 for the sixth wicket with Liam Talbot.

   Paignton got just the start they wanted when Andy Wakeham shot out Anthony Griffiths and Saj Patidar in successive overs, but a bright and breezy 39 by Neil Hancock pointed Sidmouth where they wanted to be.

   When Paignton-based Hancock lobbed a catch to Mark Edwards at extra cover, Sidmouth were 53 for three and another wicket then could have made it interesting.

   But it didn't come until 91 when Adrian Skirrow was run out and by then Sidmouth felt they were on their way.

   James Macey anchored Sidmouth's chase with an unbeaten 40 to give the East Devon side their first major trophy since winning the Devon League way back in 1989.

   Paignton 139-8 (K Benton 26, J Mann 33, E Moleon 29; W Murray 3-18, S Patidar 3-25), Sidmouth 142-6 (J Macey 40no, N Hancock 39; A Wakeham 2-23). Sidmouth bt Paignton by 4 wkts





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