Sidmouth half way to Devon double
The victorious Sidmouth team after their win over Bovey Tracey in the Devon Cup final - below, Will Murray with the cup

JOSH Bess turned in a genuine man-of-the-match performance as Sidmouth completed the first part of a hoped-for double with a 99-run win over Bovey Tracey in the Devon Cup final yesterday.

The Premier Division leaders opted to bat first on a damp Sidmouth track and thanks to some thrash, bang wallop in the last 10 of their 40overs made 180 for six with Bess hitting a half century.

After two early setbacks when Liam Lewis and Matt Cooke went in quick succession, Bess and Anthony Griffiths (66) consolidated for the best part of 20 overs.

Bovey bowled frugally – ex-Sidmouth captain Neil Hancock (2-25) and Ryan Bougourd (0-22) were the meanest of them – but Bees and Griffiths dogged it out to add 88 for the third wicket.

After Josh Bess was run out by a pin-point throw from Charlie Carter with 10 overs to go, Griffiths was joined by Luke Bess and the tempo rose.

Luke Bess (25) kept an end intact while Griffiths hit out at the other as the score moved on to 158 for four.

Sam Anderson was in an out for five, then Griffiths went at 167 for a grafted 66.

Bovey Tracey collapsed to 24 for six in reply midway through the ninth over with Bess taking three wickets and two slip catches off successive deliveries from skipper Will Murray.

There was some resistance down the order from James Fulner – he whacked Murray out of the ground for six – and Sam Wyatt-Haines (22) – but the damage had been done already.

What Bess (3-21) and Will Murray (4-20) had started was finished off by Sam Anderson, who took three in a row as Bovey subsided to 81 all out.

The man-of-the-match award was judged and presented by news editor Conrad Sutcliffe

Skipper Murray said batting first, was a gamble that paid off.

“Every previous cup final we have won we did by batting first and I felt we could do it again,” said Murray.

“The rest of the team wanted to bowl first, but I felt setting a total would allow us to put scoreboard pressure on Bovey.

“The minimum target was 160 – that’s four an over to chase – so 180 was a bonus thanks to Griff and the Bess boys.

“Then we took early wickets, but even at 24 for six you can’t write Bovey off as they have a lot of depth to their side.

“It was only when we got them eight down that I felt there was no way back for Bovey.”

If Sidmouth want to complete the double they will have to beat Exmouth in their final Premier game of the season this Saturday.

Sidmouth did get started against bottom side Heathcoat in Saturday’s round of fixtures – no one else in the Premier Division got that far – but were rained off at 52 for four.

Second-placed Exmoutn didn’t bowl a ball against Budleigh Salterton so there’s no change at the top of the table.

Sidmouth are 13 points ahead with one to play and have to beat Exmouth to be 100 per cent sure of the title.

“If it’s rained off the title will be ours, but I would rather win by playing a game of cricket,” said Murray.


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