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A Glorious End to the Season

On an overcast day when all did not seem to be going to plan as our outstanding hosts, Seaton, thought it was a 1.00pm start and so did the umpires. On returning home the resignation was delayed as all correspondence indicated that the correct time had been indicated and in red. One of the virtues of this competition is that it always tends to come down to the last game and somehow Devon always seems to be involved. The captain and vice captain had intended that the title would have been decided well in advance this year but two critical rain offs in two days to Dorset and Wiltshire and a poor performance at Torquay resulted in this game being the decider. Wiltshire won the toss and Devon batted. Dan Bowser was run out on eleven; thirty-eight were added by Hardy and Andy Kingdon who has a simpler approach to batting this summer it is  block or whack. After thirty-nine minutes at the crease Hardy was bowled by Webb for seven. Six runs later Kingdon was caught for a thirty ball nineteen and on 63 the captain was dismissed for the second time this summer. The conditions, in this wet summer, were not easy and Devon was very precariously placed at 79-6 when both Smith and Metters departed both caught off Webb. Gloom was desponding on the dressing room as the skies outside brightened up as Tim Piper and Justin Yau started to rebuild. Piper has not been well for three years now, having been flown back from Australia in the winter in a very sorry condition. Because of this he has not been a regular in the side this summer but the selection committee agreed to a man that as this was likely to be his last opportunity to play for the county he should be the first name on the sheet. How right they were, he has never let Devon down from his first game for the 16s at Perranarworthalat, his hundred at Sandford in a game that also featured a ton from the current Middlesex star Eoin Morgan, his leadership, ability and loyalty, all were evident in his eighty-four minutes at the crease. His partner could not have been a better one in a fight. Torquay were odds on favourites to go down this summer and there was no way that they should have stayed up. They did because of a superbly competitive captain who had his team one hundred percent behind him – Justin Yau. Yau may well have had a couple of seasons where he was finding his real self but everyone who has been involved with him know he has an outstanding character and is a true fighter. He holds the record for the highest tenth wicket stand with Gary Chappell – 117. Yau had only scored one county fifty in his eight year’s loyal service he now made it two. They put on 121 in 150 balls when Piper, who had already turned red, became puce and gave his partner the nod that he would not last much longer. On the two hundredth and first run of the innings he failed to make the twenty-two yards by around twenty as he was run out for 63. His fifty had come up off 79 balls. He with Yau had given Devon a chance and some of those who clapped him off, including his wonderful mother who brought him back in the winter, did so with some real emotion for one of the real good guys. Yau was out for 54 off eighty balls, Acton five, Gary Chappell, another who has fortunately returned from the other side, and Joe Thompson were undefeated as Devon set a target of 4.58.

Seaton put on a tremendous tea that because of the confusion of times had to be rushed but was up amongst the best of the summer. After twenty-four overs Wilshire had scored at 2.04 losing four wickets, Young leg before to Porter, their prodigy Quresh bowled by Ross Acton, captain and keeper Miles trapped in front by Chappell and Pittman the first of three Metters dismissals leg before. Fifty-eight were added for the fifth when Smith caught Rowson off Metters for a Wiltshire top score of 36. On 119 Porter caught Bowler off Metters and within another six balls it was all over, Bowser bowled Adams, and in his first over back it was dot, two, bowled Porter, dot, leg before Porter, caught Smith bowled Porter. It had been a rather anticlimactic end to a season of endurance and hard work that had started on the twenty-third of June at Exmouth against a very strong Somerset twos. Porter had been an exceptional captain keeping his side behind him when others would have not; he was well supported by them all. It had been a most enjoyable season to watch, well done to them all.

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