Pressure on Cornwood against Sandford to stay in promotion race

IT may only be half way though the season, but the pressure is on Cornwood to beat Sandford tomorrow to stay in the promotion race.

Leaders Hatherleigh are 30 points clear of Sandford at the top with Cornwood a distant third another 30 points behind.

Win tomorrow at Oak Park and Cornwood close the gap on Sandford to something manageable. Lose and the chances of finishing second look remote.

The importance of the game isn’t lost on Cornwood’s director of cricket Duncan Boase, who said: “It is a massive game for us.

“Win and we put pressure right back on for the rest of the season.

Sandford are a very good side with dangerous players, but we have discussed certain players’ strengths and weaknesses.

“Having said all that we need to concentrate on our game, playing simple cricket, building partnerships, bowling one side of the wicket.

“Our bowling and fielding has been exceptional for the last few games. Sal has already brought a breath of fresh air to the club.”

Mo Salman, the former Pakistan keeper-batsman, rejoined Cornwood for a third stint recently and made his return in the win over Chudleigh last Saturday.

Richard Foan, the Sandford captain, also sees the significance of the game.

“Expecting a tough challenge against a side in good form at a difficult place to go and get a result,” said Foan.

“We are in good form ourselves and looking forward to the challenge.”

With Marc Roca not available, second team skipper James Horgan comes up to bat a seven.

“It was tempting to bring one of the youngsters in, but we didn’t want them coming in and batting at seven when they can bat higher in the seconds and get valuable batting practice after last week’s mishap,” said Boase.

Cornwood 2nd XI had a shocker against Exeter last Saturday – all out for 90 chasing 103 to win.

Sandford show one change Ben Clements is out and Grant Ward comes back into the side.

HATHERLEIGH will be going flat out for promotion in the second half of the season, which starts with a trip to Ivybridge on Saturday.

It’s nine out of nine now for Hatherleigh at the top of the A Division thanks to a five-wicket derby win over Lewdown.

Hatherleigh are 30 points ahead of Sandford at the top of the table – and 60 up on Cornwood in third.

Hatherleigh didn’t set out to get promoted at the start of the season, but have reviewed their targets in the light of their run so far.

“At the start of season our aim was to consolidate as an A Division side,” said skipper Mark Lake.

“The position we are in is great for the club and a massive step forward by the lads, who have matured and grown up loads.

“Our aim is most definitely to gain promotion now but we will remain with our feet firmly on the ground and continue to work hard, as a team and individually.

“The lads are all confident at the moment but know there is a lot of hard work ahead to gain the targets we have now set ourselves.”

Ivybridge, eight points and two places above the relegation places, are under a bit of pressure to get a result.

Kelvin Trent, the Ivybridge captain, said having worried Hatherleigh when the sides last met there is no reason not to regard the rematch as winnable.

 “We had a really good chance to win at their place and a few individual errors cost us at vital points,” said Trent, who has a full-strength side for the game.

“Hatherleigh are a good side and it will be a tough game, but one if we play to our best that we have a good chance of coming away with victory.”

PLYMSTOCK skipper Scott Mansfield wants a fresh start to the season, beginning with a win over Plympton in tomorrow’s derby clash at Dean Cross.

Last Saturday’s defeat at Sandford has left Plymstock 20 points adrift at the footy of the table.

With only one win in seven starts so far, a prompt return to the B Division looms unless results start to improve.

“We must treat it like a new season,” said Mansfield.

“ We find ourselves in a difficult situation, but a couple of positive results really does change everything.

“Despite where we find ourselves, spirits are high and we go into the derby game with Plympton ready.”

Plympton have been picking up wins after a patchy start to the season and won’t be doing their neighbours any favours.

“We go into the game full of confidence having beaten Sandford (2nd) and Budleigh (4th) recently,” said skipper Craig Donohue.

“We are looking to put a couple of wins together on the bounce as the division, except for Hatherleigh, is looking close.

“It will be a tough game against a side who have some good players. People like Jack Horton and Scott Mansfield have played a lot of cricket and can be dangerous.

“We are still yet to fire on all cylinders but have been showing a real never-say- die attitude.”

For Plympton the injured Harry Kandampully and Jamie Bailey are replaced by Andy Walter and Jamie Lee respectively.

Plymstock are without opening batsman teddy Richards (unavailable). Jason Williams and bowler Syed Ali drop into the second team.

Coming in are all rounder Seb Jordan, keeper-batsmen josh Sumner and opening bowler Matt Ball.

LEWDOWN entertain relegation worriers Chudleigh keen to put right the mistakes that cost them dearly against Hatherleigh.

Lewdown were skittled for 76 by Hatherleigh and lost by five wickets.

The bowling effort was respectable –not many team have had Hatherleigh 59 for five this season – but the batting was a let down.

“Bowling when conditions have been similar we have out-bowled most teams but have been out-batted by most as well,” said club captain Harry Geering.

“Valuing our wickets is a must, other than that we just keep doing what we are doing.

“Happy with where we are in the table and looking to gain another four wins at least in the second half of the season.

Chudlleigh have gone a calendar month without a win and of the two wins they have one was against Lewdown back in May. Geering doesn’t see that as an issue.

“We had 10 men against Chudleigh as early season selection issues arose so not to worried about the previous result,” said Geering.

ELSEWHERE in the A Division, Budleigh Salterton are at home to improving Brixham.