Six of the best for Dom Bess as Devon shade opening day
DOM Bess spun his way to a county best six for 65 as Devon shaded day one against Oxfordshire at Exeter.
Bess is a man in demand these days and on yesterday’s performance you could see why Somerset had him in their T20 side against Hampshire on Friday night.
Six for 65 in three spells spread across 20 overs were figures to be impressed by on a testing day for bowlers at a sun soaked County Ground.
There was no room for error as anything that got past the inner ring of fielders generally went for four.
And anything off line, over-pitched or a bit short got the treatment in full.
Oxfordshire were 187 for eight at one stage so 273 all out was a decent effort on their part. Keeper-captain Johnnie Cater with a patient 69 had a lot to do with the revival.
There is a case for saying Devon should have had Oxfordshire all out sooner, but director of cricket Keith Donohue was having none of it.
“We have probably bowled better this season without reward, but today we found ways of getting players out,” said Donohue.
“It doesn’t get much better than a wicket first ball of the game, which we got, and it was going well when we had them 90 for five.
‘Then the ball goes soft, players get a bit tired and the opposition start to play a bit.
“Dom bowled really well – having him available makes a big difference – and when we had chances we took all of them.
“Max Curtis (49) and Dan Wolf (29) weathered the storm from their opening bowlers, and you can’t be too unhappy at 134 for three.”
Zak Bess, Dom’s cousin, strangled Hugo Darby with a leg-side loosener first ball to put Devon on a high.
Dom Bess took a wicket with the second ball he bowled, having Ben Charlesworth caught close to the bat by Josh Bess, another cousin, and four balls later struck again.
Next man in Lloyd Sabin, in his impatience to get off the mark, lobbed a slower ball straight at Curtis at mid-off. That was 49 for three.
Oxfordshire were really wobbling at 90 for five with Dom Bess and Jack Popham taking a wicket each.
A stand of 72 between Cater (69) and Richard Kaufman (76) got Oxfordshire back on an even keel, helped by some infrequent, erratic Devon bowling.
After Kaufman departed, Carter was involved in stands worth 111 for the last four wickets.
Dom Bess kept chipping away at the lower order, aided by some sticky-fingered catching close to the bat.
Leo Bethell (38) put on 70 with Cater for the ninth wicket to keep Devon out longer than anticipated.
Curtis and Wolf made a 67-run dent in the deficit before Wolf was bowled by Hugo Eltham.
Dan Pyle went next, to a full-toss, caught and bowled by a stooping Eltham.
Last man out before stumps was Curtis, who fended a rising ball from Chad Keegan to slip.
Oxfordshire 273 (R I Kaufman 76, J A Cater 69, L M Bethell 38; D M Bess 6-65, Z G G Bess 2-58, J R Popham 2-49), Devon 134-3 (M H Curtis 49, D J Wolf 29; H E Eltham 2-44).