Sidmouth skipper admits title chance has gone this year

Rob Shergold - missing from Paignton

SIDMOUTH skipper Luke Bess says his side are out contention for the Premier Division title now after they lost by 55 runs to Bovey Tracey in a game completed under Duckworth-Lewis rules.

Bovey, who were asked to bat first, got to 141 for two after 32 overs in installments. There was a break for rain, which meant DLS came into play to calculate Bovey’s projected score.

Sidmouth had to make 215 to win in 32 overs and were all out for 160 with 11 balls to go.

Although Sidmouth scored more runs in fewer overs than Bovey Tracey, DLS said they lost.

The Devon League Premier Division is using DLS in its entirety this season, rather than just to determine second-innings chase totals. Under last season’s rules, Sidmouth may well have won.

The game between Bovey and Sidmouth was the only one to go the full distance in the Premier Division last Saturday. Bovey are now 35 points clear of second-placed Exmouth, 53 up on Bradninch and 60 points ahead of Sidmouth.

Sidmouth skipper Bess has run-up the white flag on retaining the title won last year, saying: “It isn’t going to happen now.

“We have got six games left and will look at changing a few things.

“There are players in the second team who have been performing well and now is the time to show them what first-team cricket is all about.”

Sidmouth are at home to Exeter tomorrow – weather permitting!

NORTH Devon are looking forward to welcoming back ‘international’ star Dan Bowser for the Premier Division game against Paignton at Instow.

Batsman Bowser was England’s man of the series in the INAS Tri-Nations double win over South Africa and Australia earlier this month.

The hard-hitting left-hander  smashed 84, 103 and then 93 in the final against Australia to help England win the 50-over element of the series.

When the series moved into the twenty20 phase, Bowser was at it again.

Bowser took 46 off Australia then 56s two days running against South Africa, the latter in the final at Nantwich.

Bowser rounded things off in the most spectacular style, reaching a 27-ball half-century with one six, then repeating the dose off his 28th delivery to complete an eight-wicket win with more than nine overs to spare.

The series was for teams of learning disability players. Bowser qualifies through a minor reading disorder.

Matt Westaway, the North Devon vice-captain, said Australia and South Africa learned something North Devon’ opponents already knew.

“Whatever the bowling Dan is able to hit it hard and hit it a long way,” said Westaway.

“Everyone at the club is pleased for Dan – and even happier to have him back.

“We could do with a few of those runs ourselves to get away from the wrong end of the table.”

North Devon are third from bottom in the latest rankings, five points clear of Plymouth in the second drop spot.

Paignton are a couple of regulars short for the basement battle with North Devon at Instow.

Chris Kelmere and Rob Shergold are both away this weekend.

Oli Higgs comes back in and young spinner Sam Woodcock gets another chance to impress.

Richard Ashworth, the Paignton captain, said: “Looking at the table it's a massive weekend for everyone in the middle/bottom half.

“A win is vitally important to give us some breathing space from the bottom of the table.

“Last time the game could have gone either way and we know it will be another tough test.”

Ashworth scored a ton when North Devon visited Paignton, steering the team to a three-wicket win.

EXMOUTH are giving two up-and-coming youngsters opportunities in the top-of-the-table clash with Bradninch on the Maer.

Luke Davies and James Horler are members of the 2nd XI and also part of the all-conquering under-15 side.

Exmouth, under Davies’ leadership, are through to the West final of the ECB Under-15 Cup.

Sam Harris and former Bradninch batter Chris Metters are unavailable tomorrow, hence the opportunities for the youngsters.

Bradninch are a few out too as skipper Gary Chappell is on a stag weekend and all-rounders Dan Hardy and Charlie Walker have other priorities.

“It leaves us a bit light but we've won games this season in a similar position” said Chappell, who hands over to Ross Acton for the day.

“Exmouth are a good side and there is a friendly rivalry between us and I'm sure it will be a great game.”

HEATHCOAT entertain Torquay looking for points to get off the bottom of the table.

Heathcoat are 14 points adrift at the bottom and 15 behind Torquay, who are still fighting to get a 20-point penalty overturned.

Sam Smith comes back in for Heathcoat, who are described as ‘at full strength’ by skipper Peter Randerson.

He added: “We will be going hard at Torquay.”

As Torquay are only six points ahead of the relegation places, the feeling is likely to be mutual.

“It's very tight near the bottom and a win would give us some breathing space,” said Torquay captain Justin Yau.

“It's a big game and hopefully we can produce the goods.”

Spinner Dan Wightman is on holiday so Ben Francis comes in.

LEADERS Bovey Tracey are Bradley-less for the top-against-bottom meeting with Plymouth.

Skipper Pete Bradley is holidaying and brother Chris isn’t around either.

Matt Golding will lead the side and the gaps will be filled by Devon Lions batters Ashley Causey and Will Christophers.

The form book says Bovey should win, but Bradley isn’t taking anything for granted.

“Plymouth, like all teams, have some good players and aren't a weak team, said Bradley.

“Faizan Riaz (713 @ 71.3) is the leading run scorer in the league.

 “Plymouth have players like James Toms,, who may struggling for runs at the moment, but is a very dangerous player.

“Goodey and Hagen Burt have represented Devon and others have played in the Lions.

“Dave Burke and Jake Luffman bring experience.

“There are no easy games in the Premier Division.

“However we must concentrate on our game and continue playing with confidence, enjoyment and for each other.”

Plymouth gave Bovey a scare first time round – they finished five runs short of victory chasing 241 to win – and skipper Sam Stein doesn’t think the rematch will be a foregone conclusion.

 “We know they have been playing well, however we had a good game at their place this year so hopefully that occurs again this week.

We have won the last two on the bounce and we want that to continue.

“There are only nine points separating five teams around us so we know a win will do us a big favour.”