Devon Under 21s
2003 Season's Report
Played 7 Won 6 Lost 1
ECB 38 County Competition
v DORSET at Dorchester C.C. – Devon won by 190 runs
DEVON 272-8 (R.Foan 30, T.Wright 39, R.Holman 30, A.Williams 32, R.Dawson 83)
DORSET 82 all out (T.Wright 4-4)
v CORNWALL at Truro C.C. – Devon won by 1 wicket
CORNWALL 149-9 (D.Field 3-12)
DEVON 150-9 (R.Dawson 77)
v SOMERSET at Seaton C.C. – Devon won by 7 wickets
DEVON 241-3 (T.Wright 82, A.Williams 49, N.Bettiss 39*, T.Anning 32*)
v DORSET at Seaton C.C. – Devon won by 142 runs
DEVON 326-8 (T.Wright 30, R.Foan 130, M.Hunt 33, D.Lye 51)
DORSET 174 all out (T.Anning 3-22; D.Lye 4-32)
v SUSSEX at Seaton C.C. – Devon won by 3 wickets
SUSSEX 238-8 (R.Foan 3-32)
DEVON 240-7 (T.Wright 75, A.Williams 40, D.Lye 53*)
v ESSEX at Reading C.C. – Devon won by 62 runs
DEVON 271 all out (T.Wright 106, N.Bettiss 73)
ESSEX 209 all out (T.Anning 3-35)
v LANCASHIRE at the County Ground Derby. – Devon lost on run rate
DEVON 205 all out (N.Bettiss 50, T.Anning 45)
LANCASHIRE 134-3 (30.4 overs)
THE 2003 SQUAD
T.Anning (Captain), M.Bettiss, N.Bettiss, D.Court, R.Dawson, S.Edmonds, D.Field, R.Foan, J.Gibson, M.Gitsham, R.Holman, M.Hunt, D.Lye, A.Procter, A.Pugh, M.Theedom, N.Watkin, A.Williams, T.Wright
It can be dangerous to be self indulgent and that is certainly not the intended tone of this report but, on reflecting on the 2003 Under 21 Season, it is exceedingly difficult not to be more than a little satisfied and feel that Devon must be getting something right! However, following the withdrawal of funding of this competition after just one season, there can be no fear of complacency. It was a proverbial roller coaster although the omens were strangely not good at an unusually nervous team dinner at Dorchester the night before the season started. But there was no need to worry as…..
Devon completed a very workmanlike performance in their first game in this new Competition when they defeated Dorset by 190 runs. At the county town ground of Dorchester Dorset won the toss and invited Devon to bat. Openers Richard Foan and Tom Wright set the tone for the day with a run a ball stand of 68 in 43 minutes. Foan was the first to be dismissed for 30 having hit 5 of his 35 balls for four. He was replaced by his Sandford colleague Neil Bettiss, who two days earlier had been involved in a serious motor accident that had ruled out his keeper batsman brother Marc. Wright quickly became Green’s and Carter’s second victim as he too was caught behind for 39 (6 fours and a six) as Devon dipped to 75-2 and this became 86-3 as debutante Matt Gitsham was trapped in front. Bettiss and Rob Holman put on 34 before Bettiss walked past one from Keates to become Carter’s third victim for 27 off 29 with two fours. The cameos continued with Holman and Aaron Williams putting on 30, when after 28 overs Holman was caught for 30. Forty-seven were put on for the sixth wicket as Williams was joined by Bobby Dawson, one of the over aged players, and the pair pushed on with excellent running. Williams was the first Devon batter to face 40 balls and then decided his time was up and gave Park his second catch. He stroked four fours in his 32. Dawson was now dominating as the captain Trevor Anning and Steve Edmonds were to be his next partners, helping advance the score to 219 after 43 overs. A forty ball unbroken partnership of 53 between Dawson and Nick Watkin, who had stood in at the eleventh hour to replace his under 17 vice captain Marc Bettiss, took the score to an impressive 272. Watkin missed out on one ball but otherwise scored at a run a ball to give Dawson the strike. Dawson’s performance was of the highest quality as he took 74 balls to score his undefeated 83 in 70 minutes hitting six fours and two sixes. Matt Theedom set Dorset back with a first over that left them 2-2 with a slip catch to Anning and Watkin taking a catch behind - the runs courtesy of a no ball. From then on it was up hill for the home side despite a second wicket partnership of 47 between the captain Lawes and Lewis, who was going to bat for four minutes over the hour. Lawes was to become the first of Edmonds two victims as he was Dawson's first catch at slip. The fourth wicket pairing advanced the score by 16 when Watkin caught Lewis down the leg side off Edmonds. Exmouth’s vice captain Tom Wright then entered the attack and completely ruined Dorset’s day as he took 4-0 with two leg before, Dawson’s excellent slip catch and an outfield catch by Holman. Fortunately Dorset’s eleventh man Hutchins ruined his figures with a four! Meanwhile the unwell Foan had joined in with 2-2 off sixteen balls thanks to an excellent catch by Edmonds and another from Bettiss. A satisfactory start to the season with Devon having had the first of their seven remarkable days and Watkin, who did not reappear again, proving a very fine understudy for Bettiss.
From a neutral’s point of view the match with Cornwall must have been a truly great game of cricket but from where the manager was sitting it only became one once the last ball of the match had been sliced through the slip area for two match winning runs! It was one of those thrilling matches that were incredibly difficult to sit through without kicking something! On arrival at Truro it was damp, overcast and obviously there had been some problems with covering, which it transpired was due to a league match on the previous Sunday. After much work by the host club it was agreed to play this 50 over game on the Sunday league pitch. Much to the surprise and unconcealed relief of the visitors, Cornwall’s captain Martin Pearce batted. Bobby Dawson made the first impression, bowling both Farris and Tunnadaine the latter without offering a stroke and the off stump cart wheeling. This left the home side 34-2 after twelve overs but Lee was batting with some confidence in difficult conditions. It was Lee and Hunkin who had destroyed Somerset’s hopes in their first match and they were now together putting on 39 valuable runs. Hunkin gave a chance off Edmonds but it was the spinners Richard Foan and Tom Wright, who had taken over the Cathedral end from Dawson, who put the home side under further pressure. Hunkin walked past an off break from Wright and was neatly stumped by Marc Bettiss for 22. At 78 Barber became Foan’s first victim caught by Edmonds. Lee was batting through, giving only one boundary chance and was now joined by the home skipper. They progressed the score to 102 as Pearce became the fifth wicket when he was bowled by Wright. Smeeth came and went thanks to a wonderful right handed catch by Wright off Foan, the ball seemed past him as he fully extended his arm and caught it! At 109-6 off forty-one overs Devon could be reasonable satisfied and the innings’ key wicket was then taken as Neil Bettiss held a fine tumbling catch at long off to remove Lee, one of the over age players, who had held his side together, batting eleven minutes over two hours, facing 128 balls hitting eight fours and a six. He was out on off spinner David Field’s first delivery and was the first of his three victims. Rob Harrison and keeper Peter Edwards then put on 32 crucial runs for the eighth wicket which took the score to 149. Field then bowled Edwards and Munday in successive balls and Ivamy survived the hat trick and last ball of the innings. With the sun now out and Devon enjoying the best of the pitch and conditions, Foan and Wright started confidently as they took 22 off 24 balls. However one piece of good luck for Cornwall and misfortune for Devon changed the whole complexion of the game. Wright smacked the ball back hard to the bowler, Hunkin, hit his hand and the ball ricocheted onto the stumps to leave Foan stranded out of his ground. It was the start of a disastrous period for Devon. Wright and Neil Bettiss took the score to 36 when the opener became the first of Hunkin’s four victims when he was bowled; three balls later Lye went the same way; seven balls passed before Hunkin trapped Gitsham in front then it took another three deliveries before he bowled Holman. At this stage Hunkin’s figures stood at 4-11 off six overs, the result of bowling straight. Time for a walk. It is two years since a Holman run out sent the manager on a tour of the delightful Truro River and it was appropriate, if annoying, that it was his demise that gave the puppy his first opportunity of a tension walk. The breeze brought the tanoy message down the river that Neil Bettiss had been dismissed, apparently by another outstanding catch in a similar position to Wright’s as Farris dived in goal keeper fashion to leave Devon 46-6. Bobby Dawson was at the crease with skipper Trevor Anning and Devon were in it up to their neck. Both Dawson and Anning took 30 balls to score their first seven runs as the visitors started to dig their way out. The pair put on 40 life saving runs off 88 balls when Anning patted back a tame caught and bowled to Smeeth. At 86 -7 Devon were 53 runs short with three wickets remaining and 95 balls left. Dryness in the throat, surely Bobby Dawson could not get Devon home from here. It got worse. Edmonds drove left armer Ivamy, was caught at slip by Pearce and Devon was 89-8. Oh no, time for a brave face! However we had forgotten that the County Captain is some batsman and the current under 17 keeper Marc Bettiss a top prospect. Initially taking the strike Dawson took the pressure off the youngster and Bettiss watched the masterful Dawson padding up to the Oxford Blue leg spinner Michael Mundy and even tried it himself. In the main he uncharacteristically used a straight bat. The pair clawed their way closer and closer to their target. It was reassuring the way that Bobby Dawson scored a boundary almost at will to try to keep the side up to a scoring rate which kept creeping up. The home side bowlers were using up their allocations and critically Dawson hit the forty-seventh over for 10 runs. The pair had taken the score to 143, a partnership of 54 of which Dawson had contributed 44 off 58 balls and equally critically Bettiss 6 runs off 26. Twelve balls left seven runs needed, surely game over. No actually, another twist saw Dawson driving the first ball of the penultimate over to Tunnadine who threw it two miles in the air just as his side converged on him. Eleven balls still seven needed. The field moved in for the kill as David Field scurried a leg bye off Harrison’s fourth ball and senior partner Marc Bettiss then drove the next with utmost contempt for three. Last ball blocked by Field. The cocky keeper then reverse swept the first ball of Pearce’s last over for one. Field then cover drove the next four with great style and flourish but no end result! Last ball, two still needed, time for a discussion. It is understood that the message from Bettiss was to hit the ……….. ball. Hearts had stopped in the crowd. Big flourish wind up and high back swing and thank heavens he mishit it and it flew through second slip for two, huge excitement and noise from the Devon camp, sheer despondency from the Cornish. The rollicking the county captain gave the side after the game truly deserved but who will forget his innings? Indeed it was a tale of two innings and fortunately from Devon’s point of view Dawson’s was just ahead of Lee’s valiant effort in the first innings. A game to live in the memory but the manager now knows the Estuary very well and would like to watch the next game at Truro entirely from the grandstand! Still it was a great game of cricket for those who watched it all.
And so to our two home games at Seaton, the first clashed with a full minor county fixture but Andy Procter and Matt Theedom filled the over age players’ places, as the side lost Dawson, Lye and Foan. Somerset lost Edwards and Parsons to the England Under 19s so Somerset drafted in their 2002 batting discovery, Devonian Matt Wood! It was a strange but most enjoyable day. The previous night the calculator had been consulted on run rates, overs and so on. The manager was accused of being pessimistic by the scorer but she still duly completed the calculations. We worked out how many runs were needed the keep us ahead on run rate should we lose! Oh ye of little faith - the Devon side completed a memorable victory where, apart from a decent second wicket partnership of 98 between the contracted pair Matt Wood and Arul Suppiah, Devon were amazingly in control for most of the match. Our luck with the toss continued as Somerset won it and batted. The wonderfully talented Wood, who had virtually scored a thousand runs the previous season opened. Despite the fact that the scorer has always enjoyed his batting, a vital game at Seaton did not seem one of the more appropriate occasions for a long innings. Indeed his magnificent 55 on the same ground against Warwickshire in 1997 came back into the mind, one of the many early displays of his immense talent. Sadly from a Devon, if not the scorer’s, viewpoint, Wood batted through the Somerset innings being involved in a second wicket 98 run partnership off 103 balls with Seaton’s Suppiah (52) and a 71 ball 53 run partnership with the visiting skipper, Tom Webley (31). Webley along with Hildreth (8) and Timms (0) has taken hundreds off the Devon attack during recent seasons so it was pleasing that Somerset had scored only 240 at the end of their allocation. Wood had scored his 103 off only 123 balls and he batted the entire 164 minutes. The home side’s bowling rate was excellent with the miserly Andy Procter setting the pace. The county captain had guaranteed that he would not go for more than four an over and he duly obliged. A key phase of the innings was when he was bowling in tandem with Steve Edmonds, when from the 28th over to the 47th the score advanced from 139 to only 221. For the record Timms was the first to go caught by Anning at slip; Suppiah was trapped in front by Procter’s sixth delivery. Hildreth was brilliantly caught by the diving Holman at square leg and Theedom held an excellent two handed catch at mid on to remove Webley, who was starting to accelerate. Was 240 enough? No one knew until Tom Wright started the charge with 12 off Russell Jones first over and the tone was set. In the company of Aaron Williams the pair put on 151 runs off only 159 balls in a magnificent partnership. Wright’s aggressive innings just took the game away from Somerset and, with Williams also making a major contribution, the crowd was witnessing a first class partnership. As the hundred was passed Somerset heads were beginning to drop and at 151 off only 27 overs the visitors must have been totally dejected. It was a great tribute to the Devonian's that their batting did not dim in comparison to the earlier contracted players. Indeed some neutrals commented that they bettered their opponents. Both were outstanding in their shot selection and execution. Wright deserved his hundred but fell 18 short in another innings for the memory bank. Williams' contribution was as vital and his technique against Suppiah was a credit to his Torquay coach Tim Western. Under 16 academy prospect Crawford, another former Devon player, removed both openers and Rob Holman was stumped but Neil Bettiss and Trevor Anning (32) put on 63 for the fourth wicket with Anning scoring at a run a ball and Bettiss facing 52 for his 39. Devon had six overs to spare in one of their more comprehensive wins of recent years. This was outstanding victory against the 2002 Under 19 champions, who needed to win this match to progress in this competition. It has gone into the memory alongside some of the many other memorable Devon performances of recent years and yet there were some more to come in 2003. The side was truly outstanding. A fantastic victory, not least for the ease with which it was obtained, a result that should satisfy all the players involved. The calculator was put away that night as the manager slept easy, reliving thewonderful moments of a truly wonderful win. Our thanks to the outstanding team, off the pitch, at Seaton where we are always made most welcome and they cannot do too much for the county. A pitch and outfield that produced 481 runs for 7 wickets in 94 overs the real tribute to their hard work.
Two days later it was back to Seaton with Devon now in the position of knowing what to do to secure a place in the quarter finals. They had to beat Dorset to entertain Sussex the following week. The County Captain Bobby Dawson, who was due to replace Matt Theedom, had to cry off due to an injury sustained in the three day Minor County game with Dorset earlier in the week and his place was taken by Matt Hunt. Richard Foan and David Lye, who had also been involved in the three day game, came back into the side replacing Rob Holman and Andy Procter. On arriving at the groundthe grumpy Groundsman advised David Lye that the track would be different to that played on Monday and that perhaps the batters should be careful of going through with their shots, Pieman responded that sadly he felt that was the only way they could bat! His subsequent 22 ball 51 rather proved the point. Trevor Anning somehow contrived to win the toss and batted. Tom Wright was back in harness with Richard Foan and the pair put on 85 off 76 balls before Wright was brilliantly caught by Foster. Four runs later Bettiss followed one round and was caught behind. Meanwhile Foan was continuing where he had left off (well at least in the first innings) in the Minor County Championship game against Dorset. He had taken them for 135 and he passed his fifty off 62 balls. With Hunt he put on 106 for the third wicket off 127 balls before Hunt pulled a full toss to mid wicket. Foan passed his hundred off only 106 balls and took the score to 250 with Trevor Anning, as they put on 55 off 46 balls. Foan was then bowled for 130 off 135 balls with 18 fours and one six, bringing the spare ball box into regular use! The formidable sight of David Lye marching to the crease at 250 with seven overs left would have struck fear into most sides and with clean hitting through the ball he took the score to 319 before he was sixth out. The spare ball box was exhausted and Dorset had to help the host county with its own supply! Lye hit four sixes and three fours. The final score of 326 delighted the home supporters. In reply Dorset started very positively with 24 off 27 but then slumped to 57-6 and 95-7, Anning, Lye, Field and Foan taking the wickets. It all seemed to be coming to an early conclusion when Dorset’s under 15 prospect lived up to his name as he BELTED the ball to all parts. Belt batted only 31 balls for his 56 and it was only the cunning old fox Matt Hunt that got him out. Hunt showed his natural reluctance to chase the ball but suddenly accelerated and his throw to Bettiss beat the batsman by a whisker. Belt is certainly one to watch for the future. A frustrating 48 ball last wicket partnership delayed the inevitable but the 152 run victory was acceptable, if not as satisfying as the game two days earlier. Meanwhile in Cornwall a young Somerset side were defeating their hosts enabling Devon to come out clear winners of the group. On another hot day the host club ran out of orange juice and had a good day behind the bar in another very well supported and run fixture.
So it was again back to Seaton for the quarter final against Sussex. This game fully answered the critics of the 21s competition. It was a compelling match that ebbed and flowed throughout the 98.2 overs. Sussex won the toss and batted and after ten overs they were 57-0. It was the introduction into the attack of Tom Wright and Andy Pugh, who was playing for the still injured Bobby Dawson, which altered the whole complexion of the game. At 65 in the thirteenth over Pugh bowled Grammer and next over a magnificent throw from third man by Aaron Williams ran out Harrison and Devon were back in the game. Sussex then scored 72 runs in the next twenty overs as both bowlers only conceded just over three an over. Edmonds removed Sussex’s leading run scorer Heather but Wakefield showed a liking for the sweep as he struck a 63 ball 55. Richard Foan then made a telling contribution with three vital wickets for 32 off nine overs, forcing Wakefield into the reverse sweep which went straight to Neil Bettiss at backward point. A direct throw from his brother Marc to the bowler’s end removed Raynor, the pair having made impressions earlier in the season at 17s. Some expensive overs allowed the Sussex seventh and eighth wicket pairs to put on 46 and let them back into the game and they ended on 238-8. Tom Wright swung and hit four off the first over, Richard Foan fell leg before first ball of the next and the heart started beating. Neil Bettiss and Wright put on 40 off 38 when Bettiss smashed one to short cover and had to walk back. Andy Pugh went third ball caught - Devon 47-3 - pacemaker time. The captain Trevor Anning and the in form Wright, who’s batting in 2003 was a total revelation, then put on 44 before Anning tried to find the car park and was caught. Perhaps the innings key partnership followed, as the openers against Somerset just carried on as they left off putting on 75. If Wright was a revelation Aaron Williams truly came of age in this programme of matches. They took 88 balls to take their side up to 166 after 35 overs, when Wright was eventually bowled for a match winning 75. He had guided his side out of a mess into a strong position. David Lye joined Williams and they put on 22 with Lye particularly watchful early on. Williams sweep failed for the first time and he was leg before at 188-6 with 51 runs needed off 55 balls and four wickets in hand. Holman was stumped at 203 - 31 balls to score 36. James Gibson joined Lye who was then dropped at long on, omens good. Heather came back for an over and Lye despatched him for 14, nearly there. Discussion at the crease - first ball of the 48th a straight four from Gibson landed just short of the boundary, next ball blocked, third ball top end garden - six. In the penultimate over Pieman hits 2 and a 4 (his 50) game won, ten balls to spare an amazing sensation.
Devon won the sem-final in a much easier fashion than perhaps even they had anticipated against a side of Essex ’s 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’s upper order vindicated the captain’s 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 was 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 4’s. 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, showing 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 one of Ravi Bopara’s four victims. Devon was 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, sending Essex on to 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 Devon’s out fielding putting that of their counterparts in the shade, Essex was never again in the hunt. Steve Edmonds (2-21) and Lye (1-16) cleaned up the tail, with the last wicket falling in the 48th over. All in all a very professional performance, which saw the Minor County enjoy a thoroughly deserved victory.
So the magnificent performances resulted in Devon playing Lancashire 210 miles north at the Derby County Ground. With four of the squad already playing 90 miles further up the motorway at Cleethorpes, the squad left with high hopes. The anticipation for this final was a wonderful Indian summer’s day with five hundred runs scored and the match won off the last ball. Despite the benefits of visualisation it was totally the opposite. The threatened overnight rain arrived as did thieves in the night to miss out on digital cameras, radios and telephones and retreat with 15 baseball mitts, tennis rackets, small bats, coloured pens, calculators and really useful cricket clothing all enhanced by a four letter surname and the number 19. A great haul!
The side arrived at the ground to be greeted by a magnificently covered playing area, two first class umpires, Alan Hill and Tim Robinson, a confident opposition with some Anderson clones and quality overage players and the prospect of play in four/five hours minimum. Alarm bells ring. If the side batting first occupy the crease for 50 overs, we are going to have to go into the reserve day. TheYouth Association treasurer quickly calculated the likely additional costs and goes completely grey. Success is great but incredibly expensive to a cash strapped organisation such as Devon. An excellent early lunch taken, umpires asked for team sheets, David Lye having throw downs and in a 1million to one incident the ball ricocheted and caused a ghastly cut above Bobby Dawson’s eye and off he went to hospital. David Court came in as the second over age player but Dawson had been a key element in the side, was known to the opposition and it was a huge psychological loss to Devon, a huge gain to the opponents. Trevor called heads, lost and so Devon batted. It was overcast and damp and somewhat depressing. It got worse when Devon’s talisman Tom Wright (346 runs – avg 58) was bowled by a cut back fourth ball. It got better as the Sandford pair Richard Foan and Neil Bettiss put on 53 before Foan was caught. Bettiss was joined by David Lye who hit four sweet fours, was caught behind off a ball over shoulder height, got beamed and then for the second time in the week hooked this time with proper contact and was well held at fine leg. 84-3 off 22 overs. Aaron Williams and Bettiss put on 30 at 3.33 as Bettiss reached an excellent 50 and then promptly got out! Court was trapped in front first ball, 114-5 after 30. Concern started and then seven runs later a direct hit sent Williams back to the pavilion. The skipper Trevor Anning was looking in good shape and Devon now needed a partnership. They got an excellent one, as Rob Holman and Anning put on 72 off 80 balls. The depth of the Devon batting was one of its strengths, as the pair batted confidently working the ball around the County Ground. At 193 Anning was bowled by the bowler who had received two warnings from Robinson and a final product of 220 plus looked less likely. The captain had been outstanding all season – a key all rounder – and his 45 vital. At 193-7 with 24 balls left a run a ball would be useful, Gibson fell five runs later and two balls later the set Holman was bowled. Still 19 balls left, two good cricketers at the crease, Bettiss fresh from his under 17 hundred, hopes of 210 still there. It was not to be as Bettiss was bowled on the second ball of the last over 205 all out. Wickets were needed now before close of play and were taken, as Anning trapped Snelgove in front at 8, then Lye struck two in two at 36, the first an outstanding one handed catch by Bettiss at mid off and then another leg before – game on. It was getting darker and the dangerous Croft was missed at cover. The match became a contest at 25 overs and Lancashire was behind Devon’s rate at this point. They accelerated and by close of play were 123-3 off 29 and just in front. The weather forecast was for a good morning for the remaining overs to be bowled but deteriorating in the afternoon. Devon were complemented by the umpires for their outstanding fielding which only went slightly off the boil in the dark but they were pleased to get off at three minutes past seven.
Next day drizzle started at 10.20 a.m., covers were replaced but play started on time. Ten legal balls later the game was over with Lancashire scoring another 11 runs and ending on 134-3. Devon lost on run rate - Devon 4.1, Lancashire 4.37. This was a most unsatisfactory conclusion to a wonderful season.
The 13 man squad deserve every plaudit along with the seven over age players who all made important contributions. Devon showed how the game should be played, the aggressive and relaxed attitude of the players and their undoubted ability a tribute to the county and a marked contrast to the attitude of many of the young professionals they encountered on their travels. The side was superbly lead by Trevor Anning who was always able to call on the experience of the others. The commitment of the players could not have been bettered and the attitude of the over age players equally exceptional. Due to circumstances, some played just one game and yet played an important role in the game. My thanks to Seaton Cricket Club our home ground, whose hospitality could not have been bettered, they looked after us royally. It was a real pleasure to put on the performance against Somerset in front of their Chief Executive who was on groundsmen duty. My thanks to the County Club and Captain for their assistance throughout the season, Jim Anning for looking after the day to day matters when I was in the Isle of Wight, Lynne Edmonds and Elizabeth Webb for scoring and to every single player who made it such a joy to watch the side in action.
The Peter Atkinson Young Cricketer of the Year Trophy was awarded to Tom Wright for his refreshing approach to batting and his all round contribution.