Devon U11s lose way against Cornwall after Handley and Witcher are dismissed
Match day seven was a 40-over match against near neighbours Cornwall at the picturesque Menheniot-Looe Cricket Club. The club volunteers were hard at work on our arrival putting the finishing touches to what looked like a belting pitch and quick running outfield.
Devon had travelled with only 11 players due to numerous summer holiday unavailabilties and also with new boy Ben Handley (Alphington-Wear CC) stepping up from the YDC set-up to make his debut.
Cornwall won the toss and decided to take first dig.
Matt Whalley struck the first blow in the third over to leave Cornwall 6-1. The innings ticked along at a steady rate to 53 at the first drinks break (13 overs) as the Devon bowlers struggled to make a second breakthrough.
A further 10 overs of similar cricket followed as Cornwall reached 105 before Basil Crothwaite-Eyre bowled Jenkin (18). The second break came at 26 overs with Cornwall at 115-2.
The team chat was to up the intensity in the field and bowl more balls at the stumps to increase the wicket-taking opportunities which would in turn keep the Cornwall total in check.
What followed was a very strange mix of wayward deliveries, misfields and unplayable deliveries. Wickets were taken at 130 and 148 before things just went mad in the 31st over (171-4).
Over 31 went for 11, over 32 went for nine, over 33 went for 4 with one wicket, over 34 went for 12 with 2 wickets and over 35 went for 0 with three wickets. The Cornwall batting line-up as Harry Witcher (2-23) and Henry Squire (5-25) hit a very hot streak. There were nine bowled in total, so that chat obviously worked!. Devon needed 185 to win.
The Devon innings started well and had reached 28 after six overs before Squire (18) was bowled. Alfie Mason and Crothwaite-Eyre came and went quickly and with Tobias Alsop being dismissed with the last ball before drinks, it left the scoreboard showing 47-4 after 13 overs. Whalley went straight after the resumption, so could the debutant and Witcher get Devon back on track.
Handley (28) and Witcher (33) played superbly mixing solid defence with bad ball domination against a accurate pace and spin attack. No more wickets were lost in the middle phase and the score stood at 107-5 at the second drinks break (27 overs).
Devon now looked in with a shout of pulling off a victory with 78 required from 13 overs with five wickets remaining.
What followed was a replay of the Cornwall innings. Handley was run out in the 30th over as more risks were being taken to up the scoring rate, Witcher was bowled next ball and Joe Gillett was bowled two balls later. The score now stood at 115-8.
Two overs later and the innings had been wrapped clinically at 124 to leave Cornwall 60-run winners. A very disappointing end to what like a building thriller. The Devon innings ended with six bowled, making it 15 for the day - not a good day for the straight bat!
The changing room was down as yet again we had got into a decent position, but blew it due to a repitition of basic errors. More positives than negatives from the game, but the losing streak continues.
Next up for the boys will be the highly competitive challenge of the ESCA Festival at King's College, Taunton from August 4-9.
Devon will be playing Cambridgeshire (5th), Gloucestershire (6th), Worcestershire (7th), Cheshire (8th) and Nottinghamshire (9th) in 40-over matches.
The boys will be looking to put in some solid performances and hopefully get back to winning ways.