Zak Bess stuns Cornwall with virtuoso display as Devon win with day to spare
ZAK Bess wrote an indelible place in Devon cricket history by completing an unbeaten century and taking five wickets in the same day as Devon raced to a 10-wicket win over Cornwall with a day to spare.
Devon, 137 for six overnight, raced to 404 for nine with Bess coshing the Cornwall bowlers for an unbeaten 166 in a record-breaking stand of 174 for the seventh wicket.
Cornwall, 118 runs behind on first innings, were bowled out for 158 second time round. Bess took three of the first four wickets to fall and finished with five for 35.
It was impressive stuff by the Sidmouth all-rounder on his home ground and was recognised by the awarding of a county cap after the game. Elder brother Josh Bess, the former Devon captain, made the presentation in front of the pavilion.
Devon needed 41 to win and wiped of the runs in just 4.3 overs – Dan Wolf (29no) and Max Curtis (15no) not messing around.
On a bad day all-round for Cornwall their hopes of winning the Western Division title had already been shattered as Berkshire beat Dorset inside two days to claim it.
It was Devon’s second win of the season – Wiltshire at Sandford was the first – and ensured they avoided a second successive wooden spoon.
For Devon team chief Keith Donohue it was a day to remember because of Zak Bess, not his game alone.
“What Zak did when he batted was used his aggression in a controlled way to put us right in the game,” said Donohue.
“Cornwall had the best of it on the first day, but we started fighting back late in the last session when Zak went in with Jack Dart.
“Everyone will remember the way Zak played, the way he clogged it was brutal, but let’s not forget the role Jack played for his 78.
“That stand of 174 raised the team by showing we can do it at this level.
“Ours is a young side and confidence takes time to build up. Their team-mates saw them do it and thought we can do that too.
“To bowl Cornwall out for 158 second time round was an amazing achievement.
“Zak’s five for 35 capped a special day for him and a great day for the team.
“I have been saying all season this team has potential. It has taken a while but we are starting to show it.”
Cornwall team manager Godfrey Furse was phlegmatic in defeat, which he blamed on bad bowling and poor batting.
“Zak Bess batted really well, I have no hesitation saying that, but we bowled far too many four balls for him to hit,” said Furse.
“When we batted we were mentally weak and need to toughen up in future.”
Bess showed Cornwall how it should be done with a brutal display of hitting to all parts of the Fortfield and out of it.
Bess hit 20 fours and four sixes – the third of which off Andrew Libby took him past 150.
The stand between Bess and Dart broke an 18-year-old record of 118 set by Nick Folland and Mark Gribble against Wales at Colwyn Bay.
When Cornwall batted second time round they were roughed up first by Bess, who used the short ball to good effect, then spun out by Jamie Stephens.
Donohue said later Stephens made the job easier for Devon by bowling first day centurion Brad Wadlan (38) and Paul Smith (16) before they could do much damage.
Matt Golding (2-29) and the returning Bess took the last four Cornish wickets for 16 runs en route to an early finish.
Cornwall 286 (B L Wadlan 116, J R Turpin 31; J V King 3-40, J R Popham 2-42) & 158 (B L Wadlan 38; Z G G Bess 5-35; M C Golding 2-29, J A Stephens 2-29), Devon 404-9 (Z G G Bess 166no, J F S Dart 78, D R Pyle 42; A C Libby 3-100) & 44-0 (D R Wolf 29no). Devon (24pts) bt Cornwall (7) by 10 wkts.