The best day of the 2017 summer greeted all those who attended at Seaton Cricket Club, as always in pristine condition, on a perfect summers morning. Throughout the Devon camp an improvement was being sought on last week's disappointing performance against Worcestershire. This was an opportunity to put that game in the past and for the side to start showing signs of improvement in all departments but in particular in the batting and fielding. Sandy Allen was well supported in the warm up and the signs were very encouraging. Somerset had a young side and it was hoped that the older Devon squad would impose themselves from ball one. Gibbs won the toss and batted. This was perhaps the last time that Devon were in command of the game. Causey could have been run out twice on the same ball but by the third delivery he was back in the pavilion again caught behind. Devon three for one. Harry Ward now over his back spasm joined Harvey Sargent and the pair added twenty-six off fifty-five balls, the best partnership of the innings. Sargent was Reed's second catch of the innings this time off Harding. Ben Sapiecha was recalling previous tussles with the Somerset attack who were under 16s. Emerson had entered the attack in the eleventh over and after going for two off his first over bowled six successive maidens. Ward was again looking to bat through but was the first Devon run out of the innings. A very short single resulted in a short distance direct hit to run the Paignton all-rounder out without the need for a referral. Devon were now again in it on forty-three for three and the score had not increased when Phillips gave Reed his third catch. This was Ben's first failure for some time and it would now need another batsman to not just provide the glue but also the momentum. Initially it looked as if vice captain Jamie Khan would provide both as the score ticked over to sixty in the twenty-fourth over. Khan was bowled on the second ball of the over and suddenly thoughts of lowest one day scores entered the mind. The lowest longer format score had been past but Devon were still four short of the record set in a sixty over game in 1993. Devon had lost half their side for sixty. In fact they lost nine wickets before three figures were reached. Ben Abrahams was bowled by Dunning and Lathwell caught by Wells off Diamond - sixty-seven for seven after five balls into the second half of the innings. Horn was the second run out of the innings, Sapiecha the fourth caught behind. Fortunately the captain and the youngest player batted with not just due care and attention but also with skill. They added the second highest partnership of the innings jut one short of the highest. Gibbs contribution was the second highest individual score and one of only three that reached double figures. They took Devon past the hundred and up to one hundred and eight, the seventeens fourth lowest one day total. The home side had batted for two hundred and twenty-seven balls of which one hundred and seventy-eight were dots (78%). Somerset would bat for fifteen overs before another exceptional Seaton lunch.
They were fifty-one for one with Max Hancock having the oppositions captain, Wells, caught by Sargent eight balls before the interval. Chicken or Bolognaise, crumble or a choice of four others another special lunch. There was no obvious concern about our position as Love Island and the forthcoming evening events were the main thread of the conversation. Devon bowled ten post lunch overs took two more wickets and hands were shaken at fifteen minutes past four. Considering the game had started at 11.30am as opposed to 10.45am this was certainly not an improvement on the last game but in fact possibly a bigger capitulation. Without having the benefit of knowing these players a neutral observer might have thought that some had enjoyed their Saturday night! Hancock who completed his ten, such is the faith his captain has in him, had Harlow leg before and debutant Kersley Sutton, on his home ground, held a return catch to remove Smeed. Somerset struck four more boundaries than Devon. A post match discussion was held to try and ascertain where the players felt we were going wrong and it was reassuring to learn that many of our own concerns were eloquently expressed. However to become a more competitive side for the remainder of the season will require much thought and work. The word Tough appeared on the white board for perhaps the first time as in all departments a stronger approach was and is needed to virtually every aspect of our play. Indeed some really tough decisions will now have to be made to try and find a balance that will produce stronger team performances. There is a responsibility to try and maintain Devon in the top division of both under 17 Competitions. The minimum target is now we have to somehow become a competitive unit, unfortunately something we are patently not at present. It really is small things that mount up, like not being prepared to switch fielding positions to get the best fielders in the right place, unrealistic fitness reports, looking after the batters might appear a minor responsibility but it shows that the non batters care, not appearing to be concerned when things are going wrong etc, etc. There is no point just listing as it is now time for change. We can only hope that an influx of younger cricketers will start lifting our standards. We only ask for a small progression but currently we are going backwards. Perhaps worse of all was a comment from the older players - we always give Somerset a hard game but today we were never in it.