DEVON were denied the chance to pile pressure on Berkshire when rain stopped play with the Western Division champs in waiting on the back foot.
Berkshire haven’t lost a game since the last game of the 2014 season when Devon beat them by four wickets at Exmouth.
There has been the odd draw along the way since then, but no defeats at all. Not one.
Devon, 279 all out first time round, were 13 for one when rain stopped play shortly after lunch, a turn of events that frustrated players and coaches alike.
“The game was set-up for us to build a big lead and as we had the time to make a score and leave time to try bowling them out,” said Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket.
“We bowled them out 15 overs early which put some extra time in the game for the unlimited second innings to come.
“The plan of attack will have to change now, depending on when we get started, because of the time taken out of the game.
“It is a bit frustrating because we bowled Berkshire out for not much more than 200, which no one has got close to this season. They have been making high 300s and more than 400 once.
“We found ways to get wickets – not bad when you consider we are a bowler down with Zak Bess injured – and have to do it again if we get the chance.”
Oli Wilkin, 52 not out overnight went seven runs later to Josh King (2-52) as Devon got the early break they wanted.
Richard Morris got him self settled at one end, but running mates came and went at the other to King, Stephens (3-72) and Toby Codd.
The wicket Devon wanted was Morris and it came courtesy of a stunning reaction catch at slip by Liam Lewis.
Morris thick edged a slash at Josh Bess outside off-stump and Lewis stuck a hand high above his head to grab the chance.
With Morris gone the bottom four went with the minimum of fuss. Golding (3-21), who bowled seamers on Sunday night, switched to leg-spin to prise out a couple of tail-enders.
Comparisons with Gary Sobers may be a bit overblown, but hybrid bowlers are few and far between and Golding is one of very few operating at Minor Counties level.
Devon 280 (M W Thompson 97, C M W Read 64, J J Bess 31; C T Peploe 4-85, O D Birts 3-87) & 13-1 Berkshire 212 (O Wilkin 57, R K Morris 75; J A Stephens 3-72, M C Golding 3-21). Berkshire (5pts), Devon (8).