This rain affected draw against Somerset was even more frustrating than the previous one against Hampshire. Devon had fought their way back into the game in a reduced second day's play. The third day was lost entirely following heavy rain, thunder and lightning. Exeter were hosting their first Under 17 three day game and were their magnificent selves and the Club is now an outstanding venue in all respects. The weather on the first day was very hot and sticky with bright sunshine. Somerset had received some early morning calls on their players and Devon had one enforced change with Parker not being released by his school. Jack Gibbs was given the decision to make and batted. Devon's batting has only fired on all six cylinders on a couple of occasions this season and again the top order failed to produce a consistent batting performance. This is becoming an increasing concern and it is hoped that the sides first century is still in the tank. Ben Phillips was on course with another important contribution but fell sixteen short. Abraham Kopparambil, fresh from an eighty against the Somerset Development side the previous week, opened with Harvey Sargent and they put on seventeen. It was obvious that the Somerset attack were well organised and bowling consistently in the infamous good areas. Most of the top order had problems with this approach, something that did not appear to be a problem with the Somerset top order later in the game. In a rain break the side discussed techniques and approaches to such an attack and it was unfortunate that the League programme and Lions match the following weekend were washouts as an opportunity to put in practice was lost for our batsman. Another twenty were added when Sargent was Easterfield's one wicket caught Reed. He had scored twenty-five. Thirty-two were added by the hosts own Jamie Khan and James Bovey off eighty-seven deliveries. One plus, however small, was that each of Devons partnerships were all in double figures but there was only one meaningful contribution that was between Gibbs and Phillips. This situation has to change if decent scores are to be achieved over the last two games of the programme. Lunch was taken after thirty-seven overs with Devon on a very below par 78-3. At least five of the top six have to bat on and on. Thirties are simply just not good enough. Khan was bowled, Bovey and Ward caught behind and Williams was caught and bowled to give Dunning a third wicket. Phillips was watchful throughout, in his last contribution of the summer, batting for the situation. He was joined by his captain in the sixty-third over with Devon twenty-four runs past their first batting point with six wickets lost. By tea they had secured the second batting point but Gibbs was bowled in the eighty-third over fourteen short of the third. Ben Phillips now well past his fifty and James Onley-Gregson picked up this vital point in the eighty-eighth over. The think tank were in session and it was agreed that as long as Phillips was at the crease a final point might be picked up. Phillips was visibly tiring, as were the Somerset fielders and was out in the ninetieth over with Devon still thirty-five short of three hundred. He had batted for one hundred and sixty minutes, faced one hundred and thirty-nine balls hit eight fours and a six. His strike rate was a telling 60.43. An excellent contribution, one that will be missed for the final two games. Fixtures had contributed the second highest score of forty-two.Devon declared eight down after their fragile batting had created an interesting fourteen overs where sustained pressure was likely to bear fruit on a tired side. Unfortunately the sustained pressure came from the batsmen as Devon to put in mildly were disappointing. At close of play the deficit had been reduced by fifty-four with neither batsman in any difficulty. The Captain passed on his thoughts to his side.
Devon were advised of the standard required at this level, some who had already had their cards marked continued as if nothing had been said. However the side fought back exceptionally well from 54-0 to having their opponents nine down four runs past the final batting point when the heavens opened. As always Gibbs lead from the front after one of the easiest catches had been missed off debutant Adams, who performed well, Gibbs had Harlow caught behind with Somerset on Australia's favourite 87. Lunch was taken two down with the visitors on one hundred and seventy-seven. Bovey had entered the attack in the forty-second over to provide some of the discipline shown by the Somerset attack had the free scoring Clist caught by Onley-Gregson. In the sixty-first over he had Jack Scrivens caught by Kopprambi, What both the two successful fielders provide is needed consistency they both catch exceptionally well. Somerset were now on 211 and whilst Somerset compiled another ninety-three runs Devon took six wickets. This was really good cricket. Onley-Gregson bowled Dunning, the captain bowled his opposite number three short of his hundred, his follow through to the batsmans crease the reason presumably for the increase in pace. Woodcock trapped last weeks centurion Baird in front and then caught Reed off Yabsley. A very annoying stand and deliver stand of fifty one for the seventh wicket took Somerset from 252 to 303 when in successive balls Onley-Gregson had Harding caught by Kopparambil and Walsh behind by Phillips. It was unfortunate that the seventh wicket pairing were so successful against the spinners. One more run was added before Zeus, Astrapĕ and Brontě started their work. The covers were in place but Andy Elliot and his team were in the middle adding additional covering in horrendous conditions!! At least twenty-five overs were lost as players and officials deported early.
The third day started with the news that a cover gutter had leaked on the bowlers delivery stride at the pavilion end and despite every effort by the ground team the game was called off after an early lunch. Take out the lost one hundred and thirty overs and the frustration can be easily understood. Exeter and their catering and ground teams plus Bruce Coleman had been special. Graduation Ceremonies had increased parking problems, royal visits had been received from the Cricket Centre and Sandy Allen's deserved new appointment was announced. After the debacle at Seaton at least Somerset had known they were in a game.Now for Worcestershire with rain already forecast for the second day and for the batters to turn around our season.