Bess boys steer Devon to victory over Berkshire
DOM Bess hit a debut half-century and cousin Zak took four wickets as Devon pulled off an unlikely two-wicket win over Berkshire to keep their Unicorns Cup hopes alive.
Devon had to beat Berkshire to have any chance of finishing in the top two in Group One to qualify for the last-eight knockout stages.
They go to Bashley this Sunday to face group leaders Dorset, who are already assured of qualification, in a head-to-head with Cornwall for the other last-eight spot.
If Devon win they are through, irrespective of what Cornwall do against bottom side Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire scored 216 all out in the last of their 50 overs, which was a better score than it looked in a pitch that gave up runs reluctantly.
Berkshire, who were two for three in the third over after a nearly going over from Jack Popham (2-19), were glad of Richard Morris for a knock of 60 which held their innings together.
Brendan Gilmour hit 28 – he and Morris put on 96 for the third wicket – and useful chip-ins from Andy Rishton (35) and Billy Rogers (28) – took Berkshire towards 200.
Berkshire lost their last five wickets for 35 runs as Zak Bess (4-24) and Ben Green knocked over the tail.
Dan Wolf made 30 of the first 41 as Devon set off in pursuit,
The chase got bogged down by Matt Carter (3-41) and Tom Nugent (2-55) – and didn’t improve at all when Waqas Hussain came on from the Sea End. Seven overs for 17 runs was more than just mean.
Skipper Rob Woodman hit a patient 50 and with Matt Golding making 26, Devon were almost back in the game.
The target was 61 to win in 10 overs with two wickets remaining when Zak Bess (pictured) joined cousin Dom in the middle.
Berkshire kept Nugent and Hussain back to bowl at the death, but the tactic backfired as both Besses had the pace of the pitch weighed up by then.
The turning point came four overs out when Dom Bess hit Nugent for six, four and a single, leaving 16 to win off 18 balls.
Zak Bess drilled the first ball of Hussain’s last over past wide mid-on to win the match. He was 16 not out and Dom was unbeaten on 56 from 44 balls.
Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, said: “Thanks to gutsy batting from young fellows who refuse to accept they are beaten, we won a game we appeared to have no right to win.
“What a debut Dom had – two wickets as well – and Zak did what he does regularly, which is make a telling contribution.”
Berkshire 216 (R K Morris 60, J A J Rishton 35, W J Rogers 28; Z G G Bess 4-22, J R Popham 2-19, D M Bess 2-31), Devon 218-8 (D M Bess 56no; R J Woodman 50, D J Wolf 30, M C Golding 26, M T Carter 3-31). Devon bt Berkshire by 2 wkts.