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A Really Close One, Devon come out on Top

What was always going to be a hectic thirty-six hours in fact turned into a nail biting thirty-nine hours as the Under 21s were involved in two of the best games ever played in the Southern Counties competition. Dorchester was very warm in the sun but cold out of it so the players were to be involved in very sapping conditions as Jack Porter won the toss and batted. New opening pairing of Hardy and James Burke put on 29 in eleven when Burke was trapped leg before. With Seb Benton being called up again at short notice to play for Warwickshire, Plympton’s Alex Trevarthen was drafted in at the eleventh hour to make his first county appearance since playing for Jon Mears at fourteens. He made an immediate impact as he despatched his second, fifth and ninth ball for four and then started clearing the boundary by such a distance that the passengers on the not so nearby railway line were in danger as he hit as big as anyone since Darren Cowley at Exmouth three years earlier.. Forty-seven were put on for the second wicket when Hardy played an uncharacteristic shot to Smiths first ball and was caught. Tim Piper then contributed eight of the third wicket partnership of 45 off ten as Trevarthen carried on the carnage. Piper gave the Burfitt Smith combination their second wicket and Devon were 126 for three after 31 overs. Three runs later the introduction of under 19 off spinner Malik removed Trevarthen first ball as he apparently lost the ball to be leg before. His 50 had come off 48 balls in forty-four minutes and he was out for an excellent 72 ball 73 which lasted two minutes over the hour and included ten fours and four sixes. However on this fine batting track there was still much to be done as Chris Metters and Joe Smith started the second phase. They failed to put on a three figure partnership by three. It took them 87 balls and just 49 minutes as they ran beautifully and built up momentum. Smith started to demonstrate his full range of shots including the over the keepers shoulder and Metters talent just continues to blossom. Metters hit two fours and two sixes and was bowled trying to hit another for 42 (53 balls, 46 minutes). At 221 for 5 Devon had 25 balls to finish the job. Acton died by the sward for a seven ball nine and Porter continued where he had left off the day before with his maiden league hundred in scoring 17 off ten,. The running was exceptional and there was real sympathy to the very able Dorset keeper Tweedle as they took byes to balls thudding into his gloves. It was a master class of running. The final score of 260 was considered very defendable, famous last thoughts. Joe Smith finished on an undefeated 58 (52 balls 5 fours and a six). Dorset provided a first class lunch, their county captain, who had been there all day assessing their talent, presented their 2007 under 21 player of the year with his award and there was a general air of confidence from both sides. Dorset had a number of players who had represented the full county side and all showed a real and necessary enthusiasm for this type of cricket. A characteristic that is also prevalent in Cornwall’s and Wiltshire sides’. The news that Chris Metters had been called up to play for Devon at Dean Park was very well received by his colleagues, who over the first three days of twenty-ones cricket this summer had seen a colossus developing.

Dorset did not show an early indication of what was to prove to be a very tight finish by scoring 18 off five when Orchard had Elliott caught by Piper. They reached 59 in fourteen when Moxom was caught behind by Torquay’s captain Justin Yau to give his club colleague Joe Thompson his first county scalp. Thirty-four were added for the third wicket when Metters bowled Watkins, who was one of the names that appeared in the Dorset Handbook from 2007. This left the home side 95-3 needing 165 off 153 balls. Evenly balanced but the Devonians in the large Sunday crowd were still breathing evenly. This was about to change as Canterbury kit was now evident at the crease with Baker who was anchoring and Arshand who was not put on 73 in 37 minutes off 57 balls. Metters  only went for 2.4 off his ten so the runs were coming off the other end as Devon were run ragged. Burke was brought bag to stem the tide with Yau taking a calculated gamble of standing up. The twenty-four wides, including two at five were a massive hindrance. Burke yorked the very dangerous Arshand for a 35 ball 38 (6 fours). Baker continued with captain Tweedle as the pair advanced the score by 79 off 87 with Dorset approaching the forty-eighth over on 241 with 18 balls to score twenty runs, thoughts had turned to being gracious in defeat. Metters then bowled a wicket maiden!!! Baker on 83 lofted the left armer down to long off where Joe Thompson did not look like missing it as he caught the anchor with aplomb only to be rapidly flattened by his team mates. Porter bowled the penultimate over, he had been going at eight up until then, second ball Metters confirmed his man of the match status when his direct hit removed Dan Belt, who does tend to, for a duck. Dorset now still needed 20 but now off eleven. It was to be 14 off six with reliable Ross Acton, fresh from his match winning fivefer the previous day to bowl and bowling at 3.22. To cut it short he went for 1, 2, 1, dot, 2, 1. as Devon won by 6 runs. It was evident that the result and playing for this side meant a lot to the 12 players as they celebrated. A late departure meant the scampi’s had to be pre ordered but Metters fluent Latvian astounded the squad. She was very attractive and completed a first class day for his side and him personally.

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