CUP FINAL - 2001

FORMER England opener Bill Athey hit a match-winning 61 as Paignton beat Barton by four-wickets in the Saccone & Speed Devon Cup final at Bovey Tracey.

   Barton totalled 146 for seven in their 40 overs - Darren Cowley top scoring on 82 - which always looked a little on the low side.

   But tight bowling made Paignton work for every run and they got home in the final over with just one ball to spare.

   Barton won the toss and elected to bat, a decision which seemed to be working against them as they struggled to 45 for four at the half-way stage.

   They lost opener Greg Shelton to a run out in the second over and until Cowley got going it was painfully slow stuff.

   Cowley smashed 11 fours - five of them off Athey - and two sixes as Barton finally upped the tempo.

   With Simon Tapley for company he added 49 for the fifth wicket, Tapley contributing 12 of them.

   Pick of Paignton's bowlers was youngster Steve George (2-15 off seven) with Terry Farkins (2-30) and Tim Ward (2-45) both bowling their full eight-over allocations.

   Athey's brief was to bat through if he could and see off the threat posed by Barton's Pakistani spinner Aqeel Ahmed.

   While the rest groped forward against Aqeel, Athey played Aqeel with more confidence, getting the sweep out of the locker from time to time outside the off-stump.

   With Ward making 34, Paignton went along steadily to 62 for two at half way and were 106 for three with 10 overs to go.

   By the time Athey was fourth out at 130, the mission set him by skipper Justin Mann was just about accomplished.

   Keith Benton (16no) took over the last leg of the chase and with Craig Earnshaw at the other end they reached the last over from Aqeel (3-29) needing four runs to win.

   The first ball earned nothing, but the next four produced a single each as Paignton scampered to victory.

   Barton 146-7 (D Cowley 82no, A Pugh 17; T Ward 2-45, T Farkins 2-30, S George 2-15), Paignton 147-6 (B Athey 61, T Ward 34, K Benton 16no; A Ahmed 3-29, A Pugh 2-16).


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