Lions end long wait for win over Bears

Crucial knock - Joe Thompson

JOE Thompson and Justin Yau played the key innings for Devon Lions in the two-wicket win over Warwickshire Academy at Torquay.

The Lions had never beaten the Bears before in six previous attempts – but thought they were in with a chance after bowling them out for 208.

Matt Skeemer was the headline act with the ball, taking five for 34.

The Lions were 53 for one courtesy of George Allen (25) and Richard Foan (29), then dipped to 67 for four.

Thompson went in next and turned things round with a stand of 54 with Skeemer (21).

The key partnership was one of 59 with Torquay clubmate Yau (36).

Thompson went at 180 for 76– six sixes - but Yau carried on until the target was only two to win.

Tim Western, the Lions’ director of coaching, said is was a great win against tough opponents who had held the upper hand in every previous meeting.

“The bowlers did an excellent job dismissing Warwickshire out for 208 on a pitch where 240-250 was a par score,” said Western

It is the best I have seen Matt Petherbridge bowl (1-22) and to only concede two boundaries in his 10 overs showed the control that he had.

“After our two spinners had finished Matt Skeemer (5-34) ripped out the middle order.

“The captain’s, Richard Foan, input should not go unappreciated. We had talked in the lead up to this game about executing game plans and Richard’s field placing and belief in the bowlers made a big difference.

“Joe Hagan-Burt bowled well with the new ball and was unlucky not to pick up wickets.

“Three partnerships over 50 saw us chase down their total.

“The partnership between Matt Skeemer (21) and Joe Thompson recovered the position.

“Joe was ruthless in attack launching balls out of the ground and despite losing a few wickets we finished the chase comfortably with six overs spare.”

The Lions have two more matches to play: Dorset at Bournemouth on July 23 followed by Somerset 2nd XI at Bovey in a two-day game on the July 30-31.

It was a satisfying result for Lions skipper Foan, who said: “The players really came together as a team, which can be difficult with everyone playing for different clubs.

“The two spinners – Petherbrige and Codd - got us back in the game and bowled well in the middle of the innings.

“Then Matt Skeemer bowled very well at the end to get his five wickets.

“Joe Thompspon showed good maturity under pressure and hit some big sixes.

“If these players can keep improving it shows a very good future for Devon cricket.  

Warwickshire 208 (C Harrison 60, B Chapman-Lilley 46; M Skeemer 5-34, D Goodey 2-40), Devon Lions 209-8 (J Thompson 76, J Yau 36, R Foan 29; T Hope 3-24). Devon bt Warwickshire by 2 wkts.