Under 21s

Essex Put to the Sward

Devon v Essex at Reading C.C.


Devon won this game in a much easier fashion than perhaps even they had anticipated against a side of Essex ís calibre. Reading C.C. was the venue for the national under-21 semi final, where Devon arrived still buzzing following the success of the full Devon side, which had beaten Berkshire during the previous 3 days to ensure their place in the Minor Counties Championship Final.  Skipper Trevor Anning started the day off in good fashion by winning the toss and electing to bat on a wicket that looked dry and flat. Devon ís upper order vindicated the captainís decision as the Essex bowling was soon put to the sword. Despite the disappointment of losing Richard Foan in the 5th over with the score on 20, Devon were soon in charge with a 2nd wicket partnership of 160 off 173 balls in 103 minutes between Tom Wright and Neil Bettiss. At the halfway stage the score was 125-1, and a mammoth total looked on the cards, as the two left-handers took the game away from the Eagles. Bettiss finally fell in the 33rd over for a sparkling 75, which came off 93 balls and included nine 4ís. This brought the in-form David Lye to the crease, who then shared in a partnership of 44 off 55 balls with Wright, before Lye was unselfishly run out in the 42nd over for 15, while Wright remained on 99. Next ball Wright got the single to take him to three figures, which came off 126 balls in 163 minutes, including ten 4s, and showed real dominance over a useful attack. Two balls later in the same over, he was trapped leg before by Adnan Akram, but his job had been done; a superb innings. Bobby Dawson then guided the lower order as wickets fell in pursuit of quick runs, his innings of 29 off 22 balls ending as he became 1 of Ravi Boparaís 4 victims. Devon were finally all out for 271 off the last ball of their innings.   A disciplined performance in the field was required, with the Essex batting line-up boasting the much vaunted Alistair Cook and Bopara, who had both just starred in the England U-19 test against South Africa. Anning led from the front removing both internationals in a devastating opening spell of 3-25 off 7 overs, setting Essex on the back foot. A 5th wicket stand of 50 between captain Akram and his brother Arfan stopped the rot briefly, until spinners Foan (2-20) and David Field (2-51) got in on the action. Adnan Akram hit Foan to cover, where he was well held by Anning, with Foan taking the catch to remove Arfan Akram off the bowling of Field. With Devonís outfielding putting that of their counterparts in the shade, Essex were never again in the hunt. Steve Edmonds (2-21) and Lye (1-16) cleaned up the tail, with the last wicket falling in the 48 th over. All in all a very professional performance, which saw the Minor County enjoy a thoroughly deserved victory.       Back