Nine-wicket Golding spins Devon to victory
MATT Golding conjured up a career best bowling performance not once, but twice, to help Devon to a 70-run win over Wiltshire.
It’s been a while since Devon won a Minor Counties match – Berkshire at Exmouth nine games ago – and there have been some disasters during what has been a rebuilding period for the county.
While Stephens was taking four for 26 at one end on his debut, Golding was grabbing four for 38 at the other as Wiltshire were bowled out for 163.
Golding’s previous best return for Devon was three for 52 against Wales last year, coincidentally also a Sandford.
Devon built a 301-run lead when they batted second time round – Zak Bess (41) having the best score in a total of 213 all out.
Stephens and Golding were back on again by the end of day two, reducing Wiltshire to 40 for three.
Wiltshire may have had three sessions left to make 262 to win with seven wickets intact, but the odds always favoured a Devon win.
Golding made the first breakthrough of the day – Ash Morrison lbw – then Stephens removed Hants staffman Jake Lintott (38) with a catch at point.
Josh King snared John Sore lbw for 16 and Bess accounted for Tahir Afridi with a top-edge caught and bowled.
With Afridi gone Wiltshire were 180 for seven, but still had Will Wade resisting almost everything Devon could bowl at him. He was dropped twice in the cordon – once on 17, again in the 60s – and those fumbles kept Devon out there longer than necessary.
Back came the spinners to run through the stragglers – Golding took two, Stephens one – leaving Wade on 83 not out after four hours and six minutes at the crease.
Golding bettered his first-innings show with five for 88 to finished with nine for 126 in the match. Stephens added three for 62 second time round to finish with seven for 88 – not bad for a late stand-in drafted in at 24 hours notice.
Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, tinged his post-match comments with a note of realism to reflect the ebb and flow of the game.
“Matt Golding bowled really well and we rewarded him with his county cap after the game,” said Donohue.
“The wicket flattened on the last day and, it didn’t spin as we expected, which made it hard work for the spinners.
“Jamie bowled maturely and for him to take seven wickets on debut was brilliant for him.
“I have to mention the seamers – Zak Bess and Josh King – who both bowled important spells either side of lunch and took a wicket when we needed one.”
That was the good stuff, but as far as batting goes there remains room for improvement.
Opener Max Curtis was the only Devon batter to make a 50-plus score in the game. Next best was Bess at number eight in the second innings.
“We bat a long way down, which helps, and we batted in the worst of the conditions,” said Donohue.
“But when players get in they are not greedy enough and going on to make a really big score.”
Devon 251 (M H Curtis 59, D R Pyle 39, M W Thompson 30, T A Lammonby 32, J V King 31; J P Roberts 3-77, J M King 5-55) & 213 (Z G G Bess 41, R A Mawdsley 27; J B Lintott 6-81, J M King 3-71), Wiltshire 163 (L J De Souza 40, P J Greishaber 47; M C Golding 4-38, J A Stephens 4-26) & 231 (W J Wade 83no, J B Lintott 38, M C Golding 5-88, J A Stephens 3-62). Devon (22pts) bt Wiltshire (4) by 70 runs.