Devon go down by 51 runs in Exeter run chase

Matt Golding - 40 not out. Picture: Pinnacle Photo Agency

DEVON’S attempts to salvage something from the rain-ruined debris of their game at against Oxfordshire at Exeter ended in the disappointment of a 51-run defeat.

There was no play at all on day two due to rain – and a late start on day three for the same reason.

Devon captain Matt Thompson and opposite number Johnnie Cater had the chance to play after lunch yesterday and came up with a formula to make it viable.

Devon were 134 for three when rain stopped play so Thompson declared 139 runs behind on first innings and sent Oxfordshire back in.

Ten overs later Oxfordshire had reached 142 for two – Hugo Darby 77 not out – thanks in part to some helpful bowling.

Jack Dart was whacked for 82 in four overs – that must have hurt – and Max Curtis went for 18 in the one and only over he was allowed.

Matt Golding and Dan Wolf found it hard dishing up buffet bowling and were quietly spelled for being too cheap!

Cater left Devon a maximum of 68 overs to make 282 to win or avoid being bowled out.

Devon had a go but lacked the middle-order oomph required and were all out for 230 with more than 19 over to go.

Josh Bess made 46 and Golding was 40 not out when Wes Rooney bowled last man Jack Popham to end the game.

All the batters had a go – Josh King was the only one not to reach double figures – but most perished before getting far past 20. Devon’s best second-innings stand was one of 47 between Bess and Dan Pyle (18), which underlines the point.

There were three wickets each for Rooney, Hugo Eltham and Chad Keegan, the South African-born former Sussex and Middlesex paceman.

Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, was keen to put the game in context rather than chalk it up as another defeat in a season with just one win in five starts.

“When you lose time you get games that end like this,” said Donohue.

“It as a tough chase, but we made a decent effort and on another day could have got a bit closer.

“What we must not forget is some of the great cricket we played on the first day when the sun was out.”

Highlight of the first day was off-spinner Dom Bess’s six for 65 as Oxfordshire were bowled out for 273.

Bess has been playing for Somerset all summer, mostly in the 2nd XI until recently, but has made two first team appearances and was in the squad for the one-day game against Hampshire yesterday until the Taunton management realised he was playing for Devon.

England U-19s drafted Bess into their training squad recently with a view to playing him in the up-coming one-day series against Sri Lanka.

Bess got a call yesterday summoning him to Northampton to join the England squad for the four-day Test match against the Sri Lankans starting today (Wednesday). Somerset team-mate George Bartlett is also in the England squad.

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) & 142-2 dec (H Darby 77),  Devon 134-3 dec (M H Curtis 49, D J Wolf 29; H E Eltham 2-44) & 230 (J J Bess 46, M C Golding 40; C B Keegan 3-86, W S Rooney 3-57, H E Eltham 3-86). Oxfordshire (19pts) bt Devon (4) by 51 runs.