Devon take Herefordshire to last over in thrilling Unicorns semi-final

Matt Thompson who top scored for Devon with 91 - Picture: Pinnacle Photo Agency


DEVON won’t be going to the Unicorns Trophy final this year after losing in the last over of a see-saw semi against Herefordshire by two wickets.

Devon’s total of 282 for nine in 50 overs looked respectable enough between innings – but that was before Herefordshire set off in hot pursuit.

Devon had been glad to see the back of Herefordshire opener Matt Pardoe in the second over – caught at slip off Morris – although that did nothing to slow Herefordshire down.

Liam Gwynne (64) and Ed Pollock (67) put on 136 in 17 overs, taking advantage of some indifferent bowling by the Devon seamers. Zak Bess was unimpressed when new man Pollock launched him for six over mid-wicket shortly after taking guard.

Wicket-by-wicket Devon clawed their way back into the game with telling turns from spinner Dom Bess and an improved second spell from Charlie Morris.

Just when things were getting interesting – Herefordshire needed 58 to win off 11 overs with five wickets down – play was interrupted for 40 minutes by the arrival of the Devon Air Ambulance.

A man had collapsed in Sidmouth town centre and the cricket field was the nearest landing site for the helicopter.

When play resumed Herefordshire went back the chase – and a real ding-dong it was with Dave Ball (51) keeping the visitors up with the asking rate.

Ultimately, the difference between winning and losing for Devon was their inability to shift Herefordshire batsman Charlie Lowen.

Lowen went in at 182 for five and got Herefordshire down to the last over from Zak Bess needing three to win.

Lowen slapped the third ball through cover for four to bring up his half-century and earn Herefordshire a crack at Staffordshire in next month’s final.

Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, said his players had nothing to regret about the manner of their defeat.

“Herefordshire are the first side in this competition to put us under real pressure and we coped with it pretty well,” said Donohue.

“We saw two good sides play a quality game of cricket and the fact it went down to the last few balls in a hundred overs shows how close it was.

“Our lads have nothing to beat themselves up about – they left nothing out there.”

Opener Matt Thompson top scored for Devon with 91 and looked nailed on for a century until he got out.

One-day captain Rob Woodman didn’t make it past the fourth over – he pulled a short ball round the corner to square leg – but as setbacks go it was a minor one.

Thompson – he skippers the three-day side – and Josh Bess clattered along to 100 for two in 17 overs before Herefordshire struck again.

Bess seemed to get frustrated by the spin of Pete Burgoyne and, after living dangerously, ran past the ball and was stumped by a distance.

Ben Green joined Thompson in a stand of 85 for the third wicket as Devon slowed up at times against Matt Pardoe (0-35).

When Green went at 185 for three for 39 – caught at square leg – Devon were approaching last-ten-over territory and had wickets in hand.

Dan Pyle (18), Zak Bess (17) and Golding (17no) all played cameo innings while Thompson kept going at the other end.

Five overs out Thompson tried to work Jamie McIlroy round the corner and found the square-leg fielder instead.

Devon 282-9 (M W Thompspon 91, J J Bess 49, B G F Green 39; J P McIlroy 3-44), Herefordshire 285-8 (L Gwynne 64, E J Pollock 67, C T Lowen 51no, D G Ball 51). Herefordshire bt Devon by 2 wkts.