Devon have now had the opportunity of looking at nineteen potential Under 17s for the 2018 season and there are more pushing for consideration over the remainder of the summer. As is normal some have bought into the Devon ethos and others have not but reassuringly there is clearly a nucleus of talent for next summer. The real objective of the annual two day game against a Somerset Development eleven is to take a closer look at players in a longer format. Exeter once again was in a perfect condition and provided the ideal stage for the side to express their skills. Equally important is the individual's attitude and approach off the field where as much interest is taken as on the field. Somerset again had a young side with many of their better fourteens and fifteens whilst we fielded four of this year's highly successful under 15 squad. The final result was an exciting conclusion in the final hour. It really did appear that Devon would not come out on top but there was an amazing turnaround created by one of the coaches infamous incidents when Read held a decent outfield catch to change the whole momentum of the game.
With Sam Taylor at an International Football Festival, no more need be written, Elliott Adams and Under 15 Captain Jack Moore were the leadership team. The Captain considered he had been Chilled throughout the final exciting afternoon! This is perhaps not one of a leaders most important ingredients! He did well, winning the toss and he batted. The clear instructions to the batters were to bat naturally as this would demonstrate their ability to not just bat time but also score at a rate that would enable Devon to declare with a decent score on the board. Devon only lost four wickets in reaching 218 but it had taken seventy-seven overs. What was a major concern was the inability to score at threes which is the minimum even in a three day game. The strike rate of the six batters that reached the crease clearly tells the story. Thirty-six were added for the first wicket, two for the second and one hundred and twenty-eight for the third. This was between Abraham Kopparambil and James Doble. It took two hundred and ninety-three balls and lasted over two hours and is the eleventh highest under 16 third wicket partnership. The best was 286 off 222 balls. An agreement had been reached before the toss that the side batting first would bat for around sixty overs and Devon declared at tea after seventy-seven. The fourth wicket pairing had added forty-four and who were oblivious to the plan - very sensibly batted until tea after giving their sides scoring rate a necessary uplift both ticking another important box of not giving it away before a break. Kopparambil scored eighty-five and was set for a century when the bowler tipped a straight drive on to the non strikers stumps. This innings clearly demonstrated the Ivybridge's batsman vast potential. Degg had earlier again demonstrated an ability to bat but again got out when well set. Doble provided glue but needs to understand that not scoring off nearly 80% of the balls faced creates enormous pressure on his partner and those who follow. He scored forty -four before being run out ball watching. Jack Moore and Byron Knowles took Devon up to tea. Devon after the two hour first session had been, after thirty-eight overs, on ninety-five scoring at two and a half. The final rate of under three would not have achieved the fourth bonus point in a three day game. So the lesion is occupation and three plus an over. The next three games are limited overs so we will see how we improve against Surrey.
Devon's final session was outstanding. Everything hoped from a vibrant fielding side was evident. Well conducted by the Devon keeper. They bowled thirty-five overs in under two hours and took five wickets conceding just seventy-four runs. Kersley Sutton struck in the fifth over with Press being caught by Holmes. His fellow opening bowler took our Meadows, caught behind by Morison. Freddie Ford took the next two having Harding brilliantly caught by Morre at slip and having the oppositions captain caught by his own -35-4 off thirteen. The fifth wicket pair of Baird and Yates nearly doubled the score before Daley Holmes bowled Baird who had shown he could hold a bat. A most interesting day's play.Somerset declared overnight and it would be up to the home side to set a realistic target. The batters who had not got to the crease the previous day batted and reached with the help of a couple who had eighty-seven off one hundred forty-one balls. Adams called his side in at two minutes past noon setting Somerset two hundred and thirty-one off approximately eighty overs around threes. Devon took their first wicket off the last ball of the second over - bowled Adams. Degg trapped Meadows in the fourteenth -36-2. Baird and Harding added thirty before Sapiecha took his first wicket bowling Harding. Fourteen balls later he had Hall caught by Morison, now in the field, in the fortieth over with Somerset four runs past one hundred. Tea was taken with Somerset needing just one hundred and six with six wickets in hand and under fourteen Baird batting beautifully. Holmes took a much needed wicket in the fifty-eight over bowling Yates. This brought Williams to the crease and suddenly the tempo of the batters if not the fielders increased to a totally different level. He only batted for twenty minutes hit three fours and a six and scored twenty-one. However the score was now only thirty-seven short with after and outstanding catch by Read off Adams Somerset had four wickets in hand. Baird was in complete control keeping the score ticking over and he was two short of a very deserved century. It was however evident that the home side were now back in the game. Their levels up until this point in the field had been very below par. There appeared a total lack of cohesion, with too many possible drifting in the sun shine. However Read's catch now brought more youngsters to the crease and they gave Baird support if not reaching the scoring tempo of Thomas. Baird reached a superb hundred and it is hoped that the Devonians noted how he applied himself with a shrike rate of over 50. Sapiecha took a third, this had been a very important contribution from the Exeter all rounder. Knowles caught Burston to give Degg a second and Doble stumped Toohey to give him a third. Somerset were now fifteen short with one wicket remaining. Baird played on to Adams and Devon had won by fifteen. Baird has scored one hundred and fourteen.
This had been a Curate's Egg of a game but Devon had posted their first win of the season with some enhancing their reputations.