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Devon Disappoint - Fate no longer in their own hands

Torquay Cricket Club pulled out all the stops to ensure this game was staged as heavy overnight rain compounded the problems that earlier rain during the week had caused and it is a great tribute to Ian and Tim Western, Edward Thompson and the club captain Justin Yau that the hours they put into preparing the ground were worthwhile as a full game was achieved. Unfortunately the depression that had caused the poor weather was still evident as the players left for the captain’s birthday barbecue thoroughly depressed. The destiny of the Southern Counties title is no longer in their own destiny as the dropping of these two vital points added to the two already lost to the rain now opens up the competition to both Cornwall and Wiltshire. Cornwall fully deserved this win with a fine team performance. The only extenuating circumstances for the home side was a difficult twenty minute six over spell in the field when the heavy drizzle was not sufficient to end play but the wet ball did greatly reduce the ability of the bowlers to grip as Cornwall scored at sevens. The rain did eventually result in an early tea.

In view of the weather forecast (the English Riviera was on the edge of the radar rain belt), the damp outfield and the relevance of the result, after consultation, Jack Porter decided to field on winning the toss. Cornwall openers scored in fours putting on 35 in nine overs when Lewis Gregory took a smart catch at gully to remove Crane and to give the captain his first wicket. Gregory had replaced Joe Hyde at the pavilion end as the captain rang the changes as Cornwall  proceeded to the halfway stage to immediately loose two wickets, Hyde throw out Williams at the bowlers end when Chappell took the return and the Chappell then had Rowe caught behind for 47. The visitors were 101-3 and Devon was still in the contest despite not one of their better fielding performance of the summer with Williams having been dropped at cover off Gregory.  Chappell took his second wicket in his penultimate over when he caught county regular Matt Robins who lost patience and skied a return catch. Dan Bowser took over from Ross Acton and took the next three as he had Hughes stumped by Yau at 130, Hardy caught Davis on 148 and five runs later the keeper caught Roberts. At 153-7 off forty overs Devon should have been reasonably pleased but it was then that the drizzle stated and Bowser’s last over went for 17 with the bowler shrugging his shoulders. After the forty-sixth over with Smeeth and Libby making the most of the situation taking the score up to 202 the umpires pulled the players off for an early tea. After tea Cornwall had four overs and three wickets to capitalise on the situation. Eleven balls later they were all out as Smeeth was stumped off Porter, Porter - Yau ran out Stephens with Porter diving full length and Yau his fifth dismissal of the innings. Kendall was trapped in front by Porter on his first ball. Devon would need to score at 4.22. 

In fact at their best they were scoring at 3.42 but by then they had lost eight wickets. It was a disastrous start, Hardy was caught at gulley, Trevarthen completed one of the more improbable king pairs as nine days earlier he had been dismissed in an identical manner bowled first ball. It is hoped that Mrs Trevarthen enjoyed FlashDance. Bowser played on leaving Devon 11-3 off ten with Davis having taken 3-4 off five. Gregory fell at nineteen to a good catch as he whipped one through mid wicket and despite a resolute partnership from Jack Porter and Joe Smith of 66 in 17 overs the last rights were being prepared. On a spin friendly track Stephens off cutters were proving difficult and he disposed of Smith for a valiant 55 ball 28. At 117 Metter’s was Smeeth's second catch and Libby’s sole victim. The captain despatched Smeeth first over and across the leg side boundary but was bowled third ball of his next over. He at least now had a season’s average of 175 as he had scored an eighty-six ball 61. Yau was caught and bowled by Rowe, Acton bowled by Smeeth and Thompson called Chappell for his fifth county run but Gary was not even in the frame. A poor performance against Cornwall now seems to be an annual event on the calendar and this year’s twenty ones did not break the trend. A nasty collision in the adjacent road did not help the atmosphere as one of the drivers had to be despatched by ambulance to Torquay Hospital. Although there was no fan base to match those who supported Matt ^Thompson at last year’s under 16 game it was good to welcome so many past and present under 21s to the game. Just a shame the performance did not truly reflect the ability of the side. They will at least know by their final game at Seaton if they still have an interest in this year’s competition.

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