Westaway's two-ball hat-trick sends Bovey closer to drop zone

Hat-trick - Matt Westaway
Hat-trick - Matt Westaway

MATT Westaway took a Premier hat-trick for the first time in his career to speed North Devon towards a 105-run win over Bovey Tracey.

Westaway has been playing adult, league cricket for 20 years, firstly at Barnstaple & Pilton before switching to North Devon, where he has won two Premier titles.

Bovey were 43 for two chasing 258 to win at Instow when Westaway struck – and two balls later they were 43 for five.

And two balls later is right, as Westaway explained.Hat-trick hero - Matt Westaway

“The first ball was a stumping off a wide – the batsmen topped forward out of his crease as the ball went down the leg side and Ben Mason took the bails off,” said Westaway.

“The next man came in, we brought the field up and he was out lbw – two wickets in one legal ball.

“Toby Codd came in on the hat-trick and the ball came out a jaffa!

“It pitched middle-stump-ish and hit the top of off-stump.

“They say hat-tricks change matches and in this case it was true.

“Most of Bovey’s middle order had gone and when they were 43 for five you couldn’t see the rest getting 200-odd to win it.”

North Devon captain Barney Huxtable said: “Matt bowled incredibly well – his hat-trick ball would have got most batsmen out.”

Westaway said his one and only previous hat-trick was in a T20 game against St Just in 2008.

Opener Tom Ansell stroked a top score of 75 as North Devon, boosted by the inclusion of Somerset’s Craig Overton, made 257 for eight.

Bovey were bowled out for 152 on reply – no one making more than Matt Golding (64) – with Josh King and Matt Westaway taking three wickets each.

Ansell and Rob Ayre (24) got North Devon off to a 77-run start and when Ayre went Overton came in and departed almost immediately.

Ansell and Kyle Verreynne (36) totted up another 68 for the third wicket in a stand that ended when Sam Hickinbottom snared the opener lbw.

The runs just kept on coming with Max Curtis making a quick 45 and Ben Mason 30 as North Devon added 62 in the last 10 overs.

Opener Malcolm Lake marked his return to the Bovey line-up after more than a month away with 35 of the first 39 on the board.

Jack Gibbs (2-30) accounted for Lake and Peter Bradley – then Westaway did his stuff.

Having lost three wickets in two legal balls, Bovey them went 21 overs without losing another.

Golding and Lewis Hammett (28) put on 84 to get the tally up to 127 for six.

King got Hammett to snick off and once he went the lower order folded.

Overton picked up a couple of tail-enders and King added another as Bovey’s last four wickets went for 10 runs.

“It was nice to get some breathing space after taking 20 points from Bovey on Saturday,” said Huxtable.

“There is still lots to do and we aren't safe yet, we know we need to win one more game minimum but we aren't panicking.”

When you are all out for 152 and 100 in your last two games,  as Bovey have been, it’s apparent where there is a problem.

“We really need to work on batting in partnerships if we want to take some big points away from the last few games,” said Bovey skipper Sam Hickinbottom.

“The wicket was flat and the outfield fast and at one point it looked like they were on for well over 300.

“I was pleased with how we pegged them back in the middle overs and didn’t let it get away from us at the death.

“But in those conditions we should have got closer than we did.”

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