The 2013 Under 16 Season
 

The Under 16 2013 Season


Played

8

Won

4

Won on 1st Inns

2

Lost on 1st Inns

2

Abandoned no play

1

The 2013 Squad

D.Bess (captain), S.Ansley, T.Codd, O.Dawe, J.Drew, H.Gater, D.Goodey, B.Green, M.Hoddinott, J.Kerridge, J.Lee, R.Mawdsley, P.Poustie, D.Powell, D.Pyle, T.Rossouw, H.Sargent, M.Skeemer, J.Thomas, H.Whitlock, D.Wolf.

The Under Sixteens year is a very important one in the development of players for the under seventeen National programme the following year. The fact that ten of the squad represented the Seventeens also enabled opportunities to be given to others to press their claim for the 2014 season. These included seven under fifteens who played for the side, providing them with useful experience of both the one and two day game.

The season started most unfortunately. One of Devon County Cricket’s greatest stalwarts, Doug Yeabsley, suffered a stroke. Doug has been involved at Haberdashers Aske School since … well forever … and, of course, the school cancelled their annual cricket tour to his home county. Fortunately Doug made good progress and was welcomed back in Devon later in the summer.

Two excellent days were enjoyed at Heathcoat Cricket Club, where a transformation had taken place over the winter that has only been surpassed by Cinderella. Their new pavilion and facilities are truly exceptional and it is a joy to play there. The fixture came about after Alan Swift was asked by Uplands College, a South African school his development squad play annually in the Kruger, to host their first team who were touring Britain. This was considered an ideal opportunity for the Sixteens, with a little help from the Seventeens, to gain some two day experience against older opposition.

Although the scheduled Under 13 Heathcoat game had been cancelled, play did not start until 12.30pm with ninety-seven overs due to be bowled on the first day. The touring side won the toss and inserted Devon. Matthew Skeemer, who had an exceptional summer in the Premier with Cornwood, was the first to fall, caught behind by Murray off Pyne-James. The score was seven and Ollie Higgs departed two balls later, bowled by the same bowler for a duck. The best partnership of the match followed as Declan Lines and captain Billy Searle put on eighty-seven off one hundred and eighty-seven balls. However in the last over before lunch the captain was leg before to Park. Mawdsley survived the five remaining balls and the Drew's provided a splendid lunch. Devon had scored 94-3 off thirty-overs. Lines, who was on forty-three at lunch, was leg before on his first post interval delivery. This was a disappointment as the side was looking to him to bat another session, having ably occupied the crease all morning. Devon’s hundred came up in the thirty-sixth over with another Sidmouth batter, Dan Powell, at the crease. He lasted another two overs before he was caught by Du Preez to give Pyne-James a third wicket. Mawdsley was batting confidently and he and Ben Green, the West of England Under 15 captain, put on seventy-two off one ball short of the hundred. Mawdsley was caught off the first ball of the fifty-fourth over to give Kolbe his one wicket of the innings. Green’s partnership contribution had been thirty-four and he supplied three of the four run partnership with Seb Ansley. The Stoke Gabriel all-rounder lasted just two balls before Park bowled him. Ollie Dawe, who had opened the previous day for Exmouth, was caught first ball by the keeper. Devon was now in some difficulty on 182-8 but fortunately Green played his best innings of the summer at this level and, with Jack Thomas, took the home side past two hundred. Green completed his excellent fifty in the sixtieth over, off sixty-seven balls in seventy-seven minutes. Thomas contributed an important twenty-two but fell with the score on two hundred and thirty-four when Park had him caught by Jacobsz.  The pair had put on a vital partnership of fifty-two. Green was left high and dry on sixty-one when Park picked up his fifth wicket by bowling Jamie Drew. Devon had scored 234 off sixty-two overs. Tea was taken immediately.

Ben Green opened with Hugo Whitlock and it was the Abbotskerswell seamer who took the first wicket, when in the third over he bowled Jacobsz with eight on the magnificent electronic scoreboard. Uplands had only advanced by four when their captain Nepgen hit his own wicket, defending off Whitlock. The tourists lost their third wicket in the fourteenth over when Powell held a stunning caught behind off Searle to remove Du Preez for one. Uplands were then 30-3. They lost two more wickets before close of play, Matt Skeemer catching the opener Mullin to give Drew a wicket on his home ground for twenty-three and Dawe catching Murray off Green to send the keeper back for fourteen. Time was called with Uplands one hundred and forty five behind with five wickets remaining.

The second day was another splendid one and the College resumed with Bruce-Band and Park at the crease facing Ollie Dawe and Hugo Whitlock. They were untroubled for ten overs but then Thomas, who had replaced Whitlock, had Brand-Band well caught at second slip by Ben Green. Uplands were four past the hundred and then twenty-three balls later the same combination struck to send back top order batsman, Carlisle, who was now fully recovered. He had not been able to bat on the first day and was out for nought. He was to prove to be a major problem later in the day, adding a ton to his member of the Anatidae family of birds. The score was now 122-7 and the final three Uplands wickets fell for just two more runs. Thomas picked up his third wicket when he trapped Pyne-James with his next ball. Billy Searle then removed top scorer, Park, with an astounding catch from Ollie Dawe. The money was on the ball but Dawe took a tremendous catch. Next ball, the batters having crossed, he bowled Whitfield. Devon had an hour before lunch to start building a target.

Matt Skeemer and Declan Lines put on sixty-seven off sixteen overs but, for the second successive day, Devon lost a wicket in the last over before the interval when Skeemer was leg before for forty-one. Higgs and Lines had put on nineteen before Higgs departed caught behind. Billy Searle then contributed two in a partnership of twenty-seven and nine runs later Lines was the second leg before of the innings for fifty-five. His fifty came off one hundred and sixty balls balls in eighty-four minutes and his performance over the two days gained him a season with the seventeens. Mawdsley was run out with the score on one hundred and thirty-eight. Dan Powell and Seb Ansley had taken Devon up to one hundred and eighty-five when Searle called his batters in. He had set Uplands two hundred and ninety-five at just under six an over. He was aiming to bowl his opponents out and they were equally positive that they would bat it out! The latter was ultimately achieved, as the South African’s ended on 159-4 off fifty overs. Mullin batted sixty balls and minutes for his thirteen, after having watched Whitlock bowl both Jacobsz and Nepgen without scoring. He departed with the score on twenty-four when he was bowled by Searle. He had been joined by Carlise who with Du Preez now put on fifty-eight for the fourth wicket. On eighty-two Du Preez was Whitlock’s third wicket, caught behing by Mawdsley. Reid was auditioning for the two day Under 17s against Worcestershire the following week. An early closure was delayed to allow Carlise to reach three figures. Heathcoat confirmed that in the sun they are one of the premier venues in Devon.

With the season’s initial Under 17 ECB Competition games being played over the first three days of the week, the Sixteens took on Somerset at Taunton Deane on the Thursday and Friday of the following week. Options on selection were further reduced with the fifteens also playing on the first day. On an extremely hot day Devon lost the toss and fielded but struck early when Jamie Drew trapped Baker in front with his first ball. Somerset’s second wicket had added fifty-five in fifteen overs before Henry Gater caught the home side’s captain, Underdown, off Matthew Skeemer. The second opener, Castledown, was the next wicket to fall when the captain, Marcus Hoddinott, held him off Ollie Dawe forty balls before lunch. At the interval Devon was well placed, having taken three wickets in conceding ninety-five runs. They had bowled at a very good rate, completing thirty-six overs. However it was downhill after the break as Somerset advanced to 250 – 5 at tea. Devon bowled thirty-seven overs in the two hour session but conceded one hundred and fifty-five runs. The two wickets that fell were Scriven, providing Hoddinott with his second catch, this time off Todd Rossouw and Patrick Poustie achieved the single stumping of the summer in removing Eckland off the captain. Post tea Somerset increased the tempo to set up a declaration. They batted for another twenty-three overs scoring at nearly four and a half with their keeper, Crane, setting the tone with a hundred. He was the first to fall when Ollie Dawe bowled him; Rossouw took the other wicket bowling Redrup. Somerset were 352-7 at the end of the ninety-sixth over when they declared. Devon reached close of play on 11-0 off six overs.

Another bright and hot summer’s day greeted the Devon openers, Hoddinott and Skeemer, but within eight balls Skeemer was joined by Reid Mawdsley, the captain having been caught without addition to the overnight score. Mawdsley then fell first ball, bowled by Britton. The score advanced by nine before Skeemer was also out. Seb Ansley, who added six off twenty balls with Henry Gater, was then caught behind. Gater was joined by Dan Wolf, who had linked up with the side having played the previous day with the Under 15s. The pair put on the best partnership of the innings, contributing fifty-seven off ninety-seven balls, before Gater tried another big leg side hit and was caught for a top score of thirty-five. This wicket fell in the twenty-third over of the morning with Devon seventeen short of three figures and now five down. Jamie Lee fell in the thirty-sixth over and on the same score Wolf’s impressive debut ended. Ollie Dawe and Jack Thomas then tried a different approach and reached lunch having put on twenty-three, scoring three fours and a six. At the interval Devon was in dire straights on 113-7 and it did not improve post lunch. The not out batsmen increased their partnership by seven before Thomas was out, Rossouw was leg before third ball and Poustie lasted five balls. Dawe was undefeated on twenty-three. Being two hundred and thirty behind, unsurprisingly Devon was invited to bat again. Somerset had around sixty overs to win the game; it had taken them only forty-four first time around to bowl out their visitors.

Thirty of the overs were bowled before tea, when Devon, after an excellent start, was still not out of the wood, having lost four wickets and being still seventy-nine behind. The openers Skeemer and Hoddinott put on the best opening partnership of the summer scoring 113 off only one hundred and twenty-seven balls but both fell within sixteen balls. Skeemer had scored at a run a ball for his fifty and was eventually out for sixty-six. Fifteen were added by Gater and Mawdsley, whilst Ansley and Mawdsley put on seventeen. After tea Mawdsley, who was returning to this ground the next day with his club, and Wolf added thirty-five before Mawdsley was bowled. This was another useful contribution from the East Devon player. At four thirty, after forty overs had been bowled despite Devon still being behind it was mutually agreed to finish the game early with Wolf unbeaten.

Cornwood kindly hosted the Cornwall game again, with the visitors winning the toss and batting. After losing an early wicket to Thomas, the second and third wickets put on 137 off two hundred and twenty-five balls. Once Devon had removed James, Lombard and Turpin they forced themselves back into the game. Leading the way was Jack Thomas, who took the season’s individual best, 5-49 off his nine overs. Cornwall was eight wickets down in the forty-eighth over with 175 on the multi-coloured scoreboard but, from Devon's viewpoint, the ninth wicket pairing put on a disappointing twenty-four off seventeen balls. Devon needed two hundred and the openers had reduced the target to one hundred and forty-one when one of Cornwood’s best, Matt Skeemer, was bowled. Dan Pyle fell to the Plymouth College all rounder, Dinnis, in the twenty-first over but the home side, on eighty-seven, was now well advanced in its chase. The captain Marcus Hoddinott and Reid Mawdsley then put on an unbroken 113 off one hundred and forty-one balls in seventy-seven minutes. Hoddinott reached his fifty off eighty-nine balls and ended on 83 which included sixteen fours. He had batted through the full 42.5 overs. The ever reliable Reid Mawdsley also passed his fifty and was fifty-five not out as the target was reached. This equalled the highest partnership of the summer which also featured Hoddinott.

Devon departed from Cornwood in a mini-bus to travel up the M5, across the Severn Bridge and into Gloucestershire. The three Satnavs in use seemed to disagree about the best route to the Littledean House Hotel but it was reached eventually. Its owners had changed since our previous visit in 2011 and it did not have quite the same ambience. Dominic Bess had not been required by Somerset twos so had become available at the eleventh hour. Thanks to Gloucestershire’s co-operation we were allowed to play thirteen. Devon was again playing at the attractive, high scoring Newent Ground. In his last appearance as Devon’s captain, Marcus Hoddinott won the toss and batted. As normal, the intention was to score a very large total (428 in 2011) and take some wickets before close. The best laid plans etc. resulted in Devon being in the field by five to four with only 279 runs to play with. The openers, Matthew Skeemer and Marcus Hoddinott, put on forty-eight before the captain was caught in the thirteenth over. Dan Pyle joined the Cornwood all rounder and played his best innings of the summer. He batted for four minutes under the hour and faced forty-three balls but was still back in the pavilion before lunch. He was not alone as Devon also lost the key wicket of Skeemer, who was dismissed for fifty-four. At the interval Devon had scored 139-3 off thirty-three overs a situation with which both sides could be satisfied. The initiative started to move towards the home side as early as the third ball after the interval, when Reid Mawdsley was out. Bess joined Dan Wolf, who was working hard to stabilise his side’s innings. They put on twenty before Wolf was caught. All summer he had demonstrated an excellent versatility in his batting. Henry Gater joined Bess and they put on fifty-four off fifty-seven balls. In the forty-ninth over Gater was out, going for yet another big leg side shot, with Devon now past two hundred on 214-6. Devon were scoring at a rate of nearly four and a half an over but were losing wickets at critical times. Gater’s partner’s approach to his demise was interesting as Bess smote three of the remaining four balls in the over for four! This immediately took off the pressure for the minimum partnership. Seb Ansley and Bess took Devon up to 248 off fifty-four overs when Ansley was bowled. The final three wickets put on thirty-one off forty-nine balls. Bess was last out for an exceptional 81. He had faced only eighty-three balls, hitting thirteen fours. He reached his fifty off fifty-three balls.

Hugo Whitlock struck with his third ball having Bracey caught behind by Mawdsley. The keeper then held the other opener, Lezar, off Jack Thomas in Gloucestershire’s fourth over – 16-2. Devon kept taking important wickets and, with the home side on thirty-three, Bess caught Hawkings off Whitlock. In the twentieth of potentially thirty-nine overs before close Mawdsley snuffled his third catch, this time off Skeemer. Jack Thomas then ran out Pascal in the twenty-seventh over and four overs later Bess trapped Rajh in front. Gloucestershire were 112-6 and Devon had still not finished. Wolf ran out Collins and Codd trapped Ireland as Gloucestershire finished the first day on 127-8. This had been an exceptional fielding and bowling performance from Devon. The evening meal was enjoyed even though there was a shortage of some desserts.

On the second day, another splendid summer one, it was not all plain sailing for the visitors. This was despite their taking a wicket in the fifth over of the morning when Reid Mawdsley held his fourth catch of the innings, again off Whitlock. The Gloucestershire tenth wicket pair batted for a minute under the hour facing one hundred and twenty-five deliveries, putting on an annoying twenty-six runs. Matt Skeemer's catch gave Toby Codd a second wicket. Devon decided not to enforce the follow on and at 12.29pm Skeemer and Hoddinott were back at the crease. Hoddinott was out in the fifth over of the second innings but Devon reached lunch having increased their lead to one hundred and thirty-eight. It was then proposed to accelerate to enable an early post lunch declaration but the home side had other ideas. The declaration eventually came at thirteen minutes past three with the target a substantial 285 off at most forty overs. Skeemer had got within five runs of a second fifty in the match and Pyle, Wolf, Mawdsley and Ansley had reached the twenties. With nine overs available before tea Gloucestershire started sedately scoring twenty-one for no loss. After tea they tried to increase the tempo but after a vain attempt they accepted that they would not reach the target. They lost their first wicket four short of three figures when Codd bowled Bracey. Ansley caught the second opener, Pascal, off the captain two runs past three figures and the two off spinners then combined to remove Lezar, Bess the catcher, Cobb the bowler. The final Gloucestershire wicket to fall was identical to the second. After twenty-seven overs the home side was still 155 short with six wickets remaining.

The Under Sixteens took on the Surrey Academy in an excellent game at Heathcoat. The weather was near perfect and the result set up by a sporting declaration by the visitors. Until then Devon had always been playing catch up. Dominic Bess, in his first game as Under Sixteens’ captain, won the toss and asked the London based side to bat. They dominated the first session scoring ninety-four runs off thirty-five overs. The single wicket to fall in the first two hours was a neat catch by the captain off Jack Thomas. After lunch the second wicket pair continued to build a competitive score, taking their side up to three figures in ten balls and reaching their own century partnership in the forty-ninth over. After they had added one hundred and twelve runs, the excellent stand was eventually broken by Dan Wolf with the help of a second catch by Dominic Bess. The third wicket to fall was taken by the captain when he had Dahi leg before. Surrey was now 150-3 after fifty-two overs. This score was doubled over the remaining forty-three overs of the visitors’ innings, thanks mainly to an exceptional hundred from Kolk. Eventually Todd Rossouw removed the Surrey keeper with Dan Wolf taking the catch. The fourth wicket had put on seventy-three. This was to be the last big partnership of the innings. Ollie Dawe took the important wicket of Kolk, thanks to the captain’s third catch. He had scored exactly one hundred of the 247 now on the scoreboard. Dawe was the bowler again when Surrey lost their sixth wicket with Dan Powell taking his first catch. Dan Wolf then bowled Jacks. Atkinson was another Dawe/Powell victim and Holmes Powell’s third catch behind, this time off Jack Thomas. Surrey declared immediately they reached three hundred.

Skeemer and Powell faced six overs before close and both would be present at the crease at 11.00am on the second day. They had scored twenty-seven. Unfortunately Powell only faced three more deliveries before he was out off the last ball of the first over and Skeemer only seventeen balls before he too was back in Heathcoat’s magnificent new pavilion. Devon was now 40-2 which four balls later, in the same over, became 40-3 when the captain was caught behind. Reid Mawdsley hit eleven off six balls but was caught off the seventh. Toby Codd and Dan Wolf advanced the score by forty-two before Codd was out. Wolf and Ansley had put on the best partnership of the innings, one short of fifty, when Wolf was the sixth batsman to be out caught. Devon had now reached 143. Jack Thomas lasted four balls, breaking the sequence by being stumped. Ollie Dawe was out on the stroke of lunch with Devon still one hundred and fifty behind. The batsman’s reaction to the leg before decision resulted in the captain immediately summoning his side to the dressing room and shutting the door on the world. Devon scored another thirty-four runs post lunch off sixty-one balls. Seventeen was the identical return for the ninth and tenth wickets. Seb Ansley had entered with Devon on ninety-four and he was last out having contributed a vital sixty-eight off eighty-two balls, hitting eleven fours and a six just before he was out. His fifty came off sixty-two balls.

Surrey then set about increasing their one hundred and sixteen lead. They batted for another nineteen overs, setting Devon a target of two hundred and eight in the final session of the game off potentially thirty-eight overs, a rate of just under five and a half. Devon got off to a flyer with Skeemer and Powell adding sixty-two in thirty-three minutes off fifty-four balls. This set the tenor of the run chase and Devon never looked back. Powell’s incredible form of 2013 continued as he and Dan Wolf put on forty-two for the second wicket before Wolf departed with Devon four past the hundred, stumped off Dahi. Sidmouth, through Powell and Bess, added fifty-eight off only fifty-two balls. Powell was out in the twenty-sixth over for a very special seventy-four. His fifty came off forty-nine balls and his overall strike rate was 104.23. This was bettered by the captain, who was out seven runs later, as he had scored at 109.09. The potential danger of losing momentum at Bess’s dismissal did not take place, as first Codd and Mawdsley took Devon to within twenty-five with at least eight overs to be bowled. The final pairing of the first innings hero, Ansley, and Mawdsley took twenty-two balls to win the game. This was an exceptional performance, the direct result of a competitive declaration from Surrey.

SatNav took Devon to a housing estate, which had appeared since we had last visited St Austell. It was another glorious summer’s day with Matt Skeemer leading the side. Cornwall won the toss and, not to the displeasure of the visitors, fielded. The captain, who had been on the road all week visiting Leamington and helping to draw a high scoring game against Somerset Seventeens, fell early. Dan Pyle gave a chance first ball, hit two fours and was back up the steep steps, leaving Devon on 19-2 in the sixth over. Toby Codd and Reid Mawdsley added twenty before Codd departed. Gater, who had flown into the UK in the early hours, joined Mawdsley and the pair put on forty in as many minutes. At the half way stage Devon was in some difficulty on 85-5, as Mawdsley fell for thirty-six. He had been at the crease for ten minutes over the hour and had faced fifty-three balls. The sixth wicket pair took Devon into three figures, putting on sixteen before Thomas was out. Seb Ansley and Jamie Lee took Devon up to one hundred and sixteen and Goodey and Lee to an insufficient 132-8 off forty-one overs. Fortunately the Plympton pairing of Jamie Lee and Todd Rossouw shared in the best partnership of the innings, putting on a match winning 54 for the ninth wicket. It took thirty-three minutes and the pair faced fifty-nine balls. Jamie Lee was out off the last ball of the final over, off which he had added ten runs to make his final total thirty-seven. Rossouw’s contribution of eleven had been equally vital as they had given the bowlers something to bowl at 186-9.

Cornwall kept losing wickets in clusters, two on twenty-two, two on 74/75, three on 82 and two on 127/129. This created pressure on their batsman, which was increased by a fine fielding and bowling performance from Devon. Toby Codd took 3-24 off ten, Thomas 2-20, Dan Goodey 1-26, Lee 1-11, Drew 1-10, Skeemer 2-19 and Rossouw 1-16. An excellent result.

Devon returned to the first-rate Wolverhampton Cricket Club, where the Nineteen’s had played Worcestershire in 2012. This time the Sixteens were being entertained by Staffordshire. The home team won the toss and by lunch the game was evenly poised at 132-3. Dominic Bess had utilised six bowlers in the opening session and the captain, thanks to catches by Gater and Green, took two of them. The third fell to Jack Thomas who trapped opener Weston leg before. Devon had bowled at an excellent rate of twenty overs an hour in the first two hours play. Bess took his third wicket with his first ball of the forty-ninth over with a catch behind from Dan Powell. Staffordshire was on one hundred and fifty-three. Ten overs later Bess, in his twentieth, took his fourth when he bowled Washington. His figures were 4-71 and he finished his full spell with his best return of the summer 25-5-82-4. This had been his third visit with the Sixteens to play in Staffordshire. The home side were now 171-5 but their sixth wicket pairing then made the highest partnership of the innings, putting on 84 off one hundred and eighty-six balls. Hugo Whitlock eventually broke the partnership when he bowled Sandhu in the ninetieth over. Thomas took the next two wickets to fall, thanks to a catch behind and a bowled. The Knots had reached two hundred and seventy. Dan Wolf had been introduced in the ninety-second over and he wound up the innings by bowling Hunte and taking a caught and bowled to remove Mahmood. Devon needed two hundred and seventy-six for hypothetical first innings points but would first have to face thirteen overs before close of play. It was however a disastrous fifty-seven minutes as Devon lost three key wickets in reducing the deficit by thirty-seven runs. Debutant Harvey Sargent fell in the eighth over and so did Ben Green. Sargent was caught and Green was leg before off his second ball. The situation worsened when Powell was dismissed five balls later. Overnight another Harvester and Sainsbury’s Café satisfied the player’s appetites as play started on time in somewhat overcast conditions.

Devon’s initial target was one hundred and seventy-seven to avoid the second follow on of the summer, which would be a record. All seemed to be going well, with the overnight pairing of Matthew Skeemer and Reid Mawdsley putting on thirty off seventy-three balls in forty-five minutes, but then Skeemer’s brave vigil came to an end. He had batted for an hour and twenty minutes for his 15. Mawdsley was joined by Henry Gater who was out first ball. The captain joined Reid Mawdsley and they took the score up to sixty-two when Bess was out. The follow on was now looking a formality but the tail did their best to avert it. The last four wickets took the score from 62-6 to one hundred and sixty. Mawdsley and Wolf had added twenty when Mawdsley was out forty-three minutes before lunch for thirty-nine. He had batted eighty-nine minutes and faced seventy-three balls. The Under Fifteens, Wolf and Codd, nearly took Devon to lunch, making the largest shared contribution of the innings – forty off seventy-nine balls but Dan Wolf was out, giving Jack Thomas three balls to face before the interval. Post lunch Jack Thomas departed with Devon still forty-two runs short of avoiding batting again. Toby Codd was batting sensibly and was joined by the second debutant John Kerridge, shortly arrived from Lincolnshire. The pair advanced the score by twenty-five with neither batsmen looking in any difficulty. Indeed it was apparent that the home side were getting increasingly frustrated by this last wicket partnership . Devon was all out off the final ball of their fifty-ninth over when Codd nicked one behind. They were immediately invited to have another go with the bat. Toby Codd had batted for eighty-one minutes facing seventy-seven balls for his forty-four. His all round contributions over the summer were most encouraging for the 2014 season.

Devon fared a lot better second time around and Harvey Sargent also took the opportunity of showing his real potential as an opener for 2014. The visitors would have to face at least forty-two overs to avoid an outright loss. Staffordshire actually bowled forty-five overs and Devon was sixty-four runs ahead with six wickets in hand at close. The second innings did not start well, the openers had only put on twenty-five when Skeemer was out. Gater and Sargent added five all contributed by Gater, Green and Sargent had put on twenty-four when in the fifteenth over Green was out. Devon had scored 54-3 with sufficient overs remaining for Staffordshire to turn the screw. Fortunately Powell and Sargent batted for a further twenty-two overs putting on a hundred runs. This was the third and final partnership of three figures of the summer. Powell reached his fifty off forty-four balls and was eventually out for a sixty-seven ball seventy-three. Devon was now thirty-eight ahead and an unbeaten partnership of thirty-six between Sargent and Mawdsley completed a more satisfactory batting performance, with Sargent finishing unbeaten on fifty-two. He had batted for sixteen minutes over two hours, facing one hundred and fifty-eight balls and reaching his fifty with his seventh four.

Thanks to the understanding and total support of Worcestershire the intended two day game at Kidderminster was reduced to one. This enabled the Seventeens to travel to Maidstone to play their semi-final. Dominic Bess won the toss and batted. It was a disappointing start as Matthew Skeemer experienced a rare failure being trapped leg before second ball. Enter Henry Gater whose form over the summer had been disappointing. He lost his Sidmouth team mate, Sargent, in the eighth over with Devon on 21-2. Gater and Ben Green took Devon up to eighty-four in the twenty-fourth over before Green was caught. At the half way stage Devon was below par on 86-3 but in the second half of the innings Devon scored another one hundred and eighty-two runs at an impressive 7.28 an over. Dan Powell’s strike rate was 140.74 but even this impressive return was bettered later in the innings. Powell and Gater contributed forty-nine for the fourth wicket, Reid Mawdsley and Gater added twenty-one and the captain and Gater put on the highest partnership of the innings – sixty-five off fifty-one balls. With twenty-nine balls remaining Devon was on 219-6. Gater's fine contribution ended in the forty-seventh over when he was caught on eighty-one. He had batted two and three quarter hours, facing one hundred and thirty-three balls and hitting eleven fours. This innings confirmed what Gater can provide to the team but he needs to do it consistently. Dan Wolf was in with him and his contribution of thirty-nine off only nineteen balls was also vital. He was improvising and his strike rate of 205.26 was outstanding. He was unbeaten, as was Jack Thomas, who helped put on 26 off sixteen balls for the ninth wicket.

The final result of a win by five runs would infer a very close and exciting climax. In fact Devon seemed in total control throughout the game and the home side needed an improbable twenty off Green’s last over. Six of the seven bowlers used took wickets and the fielding was satisfactory. Catches were taken by Codd, Sargent (2), Gater and Wolf and the last wicket to fall was a run out indicating the pressure being exerted. The home side openers put on fifty off fifty-eight balls and every partnership was in double figures, with the lowest being an unbeaten fifteen from the last pairing. The second highest partnership of the home side’s innings was forty-four runs for the fourth wicket – indicating excellent consistency. Devon showed some real potential for the one day format.

In reviewing the summer much has been learnt for both 2014 and 2015, with an encouraging number of the Under Fifteen squad making important contributions. All of them have sampled one and two day cricket and hopefully learnt some more about the Devon approach to both types of the game and the county’s ethos. It is therefore sad that Matt Wood will not be able to build on the excellent relationship he has built up with the squad and his involvement will be missed. Another player who will be missed is Marcus Hoddinott, who decided mid-season to concentrate on club and school cricket and retire from the county game. He has been a great ambassador for Devon Youth Cricket and his contribution is much appreciated, we wish him well. On a more positive note we are hopeful that Matthew Cooke will coach the squad in 2014 and he comes with a most impressive pedigree, having played through the age groups in one of Devon’s most successful squads. The side had three captains over the summer and eventually it was decided upon a Dominic Bess/Matt Skeemer leadership team. The pair led well and performed to their normal high standard in their various guises. Both are extremely talented all round cricketers who, along with others, will form the backbone of hopefully a more than useful 2014 squad. The side is blessed with many gifted young players and on paper (always dangerous) they could develop into a very fine group. The side will have to appreciate the importance of large three hundred and fifty plus scores and that they will regularly have to bowl out their opponents. However if the bowlers are available and can remain fit, they have the potential to take twenty wickets. There is a good mixture of seamers and spinners to provide the captain with a nicely balanced attack. The batters have to set targets and these should start at three figures both individually and as a partnership. Two of them have already achieved this in not easy circumstances and all of the top order has the ability. They will now need to work on their concentration. It is likely that competition for places will be intense for both the Sixteens and Seventeens in 2014 which always bodes well. The scorer made her normal contribution both in the score box and off the pitch! DACO provided quality umpires and our host clubs Heathcoat (twice) and Cornwood were magnificent.


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