Ton-up Thommo leads Devon into commanding position against Wiltshire
By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
A MATT Thompson century enabled Devon to recover from an edgy 24 for three before lunch on day one against Wiltshire to hold a sizeable 276-run lead at close of play.
Wiltshire’s seamers had the best of it for the first hour as Devon’s batsmen played and missed… and then played and missed some more.
Will Harries accounted for opener and captain Alex Barrow then 16-year-old debutant Ben Beaumont in the same over.
Thompson and match professional Wayne White dug in either side of lunch to turn the game round with a stand of 111 for the fourth wicket.
White went for 62 off 104 balls – Evans getting past his perpendicular bat – but that just meant Thompson carrying on with Zac Bess at the other end.
The Bess-Thompson stand of 77 took Devon up to 212 for four and Wiltshire appeared to be wilting in the heat.
Removing Bess gave Wiltshire’s fieldsmen a treat – and when George Allen and Jamie Stephens came and went in quick succession Devon had gone from 212 for to 229 for seven.
Matt Skeemer, the Cornwood captain playing only his second game at this level, had the second all-rounder spot at nine in the order and did not disappoint.
Skeemer mixed caution with aggression well as he and Thompson put on 80 for the eighth wicket. Useful runs in anyone’s book.
Thompson, who does three-day mode better than anyone in the Devon side, reached his ton off 205 balls in 275 minutes with 10 fours. Then he started to play some one-day shots and went on to a Devon best in this format of 132.
A back-peddling Tahir Afridi pouched a less-than-routine catch to end Thompson’s innings after 235 deliveries faced. Skeemer, dropped on the long boundary on 19, went on to make 46 not out in Devon’s 90-over total of 337 for eight declared.
Dave Tall, Devon’s director of cricket, said the importance of Thompson’s innings could easily be misunderstood. It was not just about him
“There are not too many people that gritty or determined to bat all day long and make that kind of score,” said Tall.
“And by staying there the way he did, other batsmen had time to make useful scores themselves.”
Wiltshire were 61 for one at last night’s close. The man out opener Jake Goodwin, who was caught and bowled by Hugo Whitlock.
Devon 337-8 (M W Thompson 132, W A White 62, M P Skeemer 42no, Z G G Bess 38), Wiltshire 61-1. Devon 4pts, Wiltshire 3.