Devon take Cornwall to last couple of overs before losing by six wickets
JAKE Libby grafted an unbeaten century that ensured Cornwall of a six-wicket win over Devon at Werrington.
Devon, 298 for five going into the third and final day, declared their second innings closed on 469 for seven.
Skipper Josh Bess went from 38 overnight to 89 on day three and Jamie Stephens was dismissed just before the lunchtime declaration for a Devon best 97. Alex Barrow had been in and out on day two for 163.
As Devon had a first-innings deficit of 135 to carry forward, Cornwall’s target was 335 to win and 67 overs to get it.
Libby plays for Notts in four-day cricket, but doesn’t feature at all when the white ball is being used, which is how he came to be available for his home county.
It was a professional innings in every sense of the word and one, but not the only difference, between the two sides.
Libby finished off what Cornwall paceman Tom Dinnis had started on day one when he took five wickets for 46 runs to hasten Devon’s demise for 136.
No one could argue that Devon didn’t scrap for every run and every wicket for the rest of the match, but their first-innings shortcomings meant Cornwall were always in the ascendency.
It was a factor not lost on Devon team chief Keith Donohue, who said: “To take Cornwall down to the last two overs after three days when they were always ahead in the game was a good effort on our part.
“It was a solid performance by Cornwall who were always dictating the game after bowling us out for 136 on the first afternoon.
“Although we bowled well and batted far better in the second time, we had the first-innings deficit hanging over us.
“What we would have liked was to set Cornwall closer to 400 and had more time to attempt bowling them out.
“Any total above 300 takes some getting, so we knew 330-odd gave us a chance when we declared.
“With Libby stoppering up one end, and support at the other from the likes of Sam Wood (69) and Paul Smith (86), Cornwall were just a bit too good for us.”
It didn’t help Devon’s cause that fast-bowling all-rounder Zak Bess didn’t bowl a ball in Cornwall’s second innings due to a side strain.
Over three days there were numerous notable performances; led by Libby for Cornwall with 67 in the first innings, 142 not out in the second and a handful of wickets.
Smith, two half-centuries, and Dinnis impressed on their home ground, to the delight of the locals.
Alex Barrow’s 163 in Devon’s second innings was virtually flawless. Skipper Josh Bess, who hit 58 and 89 as well as taking the new ball in both innings, showed how important he is to Devon’s well being.
Devon’s highlight would have Stephens’ emergence as a Minor Counties-standard all-rounder. He should have made a maiden century to add to match bowling figures of eight for 177.
Devon 136 (J J Bess 58; T J Dinnis 5-46, A C Libby 2-9, J D Libby 2-41) & 469-7 (A W R Barrow 163, J J Bess 89, J A Stephens 97, M W Thompson 40; T G Sturgess 3-105), Cornwall 271 (J D Libby 67, P A Smith 83, L P Goldsworthy 32; J J Bess 3-31, J A Stephens 6-92) & 335-4 9 (J D Libby 142no, P A Smith 86no, S K W Wood 69). Cornwall (24pts) bt Devon (4) by 6 wkts.