WITH both counties fifteens otherwise involved in South Devon both sides probably had to change their original selection thoughts.
The result was a beneficial two days in excellent conditions, weather and venue, where Devon eventually came out winners by ninety runs.
Jack Gibbs, with initially input from Sam Taylor, led the Development side and on the second day Taylor took over the captaincy.
On winning the toss Devon batted with Harvey Sargent and Max Mejzner, his knee fortunately mainly recovered opening.
Their first wicket fell in the fourth over with Sewell bowling Meizner who was going to join a very select club later in the day.
The home side had scored eleven and lost their second wicket forty-three balls later when Harry Ward in his penultimate County Age Group Innings was unfortunately run out at the non striker’s end backing up! The two under eighteens had added eighteen.
Lunch was taken with Devon still two down but on one hundred and twenty-seven as Sargent and Jamie Khan batted brilliantly in putting on ninety-eight runs.
Over two days our lunches included the finest lasagne and barbecued chicken with delicious deserts including meringue nests prepared by Mrs.and Miss OG with the other mothers again providing splendid support.
Devon were three down in the first post lunch interval over when Harvey Sargent was leg before having contributed sixty-nine runs in just under two hours and he had added precisely one hundred with Jamie Khan in seventy-two pulsating minutes. Elliott Adams went first ball in identical fashion.
Sam Taylor survived Sewell's hat trick ball and with Khan leading took Devon from 129-4 to 177-5.
Taylor contributed ten and was obviously working on a longer format approach to his batting.
With England hockey commitments upon him this was his final county batting opportunity of the summer.
Khan was now thirty-three short of a second county ton of the summer but he was out next seven short of three figures.
He was also out for 93 on the 16th August 2016 so perhaps a diary note for 2018 is necessary.
He had been his explosive self and is one of a most elite group of Devon's most successful game changers. In an hour at the crease he cannot just alter the momentum of a game but take it away from the opposition. Over the summer he also has most certainly widened his choice of reading.
This vital contribution had now set up an interesting game. Khan had hit four sixes, seven fours, batted for one hundred and thirty-five minutes, one less than in 2016 and faced five fewer balls - one hundred.
Devon were now eight runs pass two hundred but they scored only another nineteen runs for the loss of Holmes, Gibbs, Onley-Gregson and Middleton.
Luke Jefferson was the unbeaten batsman as Devon were all out in the fifty-sixth over with Critchley on a hat trick. The Surrey bowler had taken four for twenty off four.
He did not get a bowl in the second innings so did not have an opportunity to take three in three.
In the three overs before tea Gibbs removed Scotland (without a referendum) with Mejzner taking the catch leaving Surrey 7-1.
Surrey batted another 33 overs in reducing their first innings deficit by one hundred and thirty.
Onley-Gregson bowled Gonella and Jefferson had Desai caught behind by Taylor.
The leadership team involved eight bowlers in trying to make further breakthroughs.
Devon faced ten overs and they scored 22 increasing the lead to 119. Mejzner completed his application form after he was bowled by Sewell for 14.
James Onley-Gregson went in as a night watchman but was to prove the next day and the following week that he is a most capable batsman.
With Harvey Sargent the second wicket pairing added eighty-six with Onley-Gregson contribution forty and Sargent forty-four. Sargent was now two runs past his second fifty of the game.
Onley-Gregson fell in the thirtieth over, he had batted for eighty-five minutes, faced sixty-five balls and hit five fours.
Harvey Sargent was the third wicket to fall in the fortieth over for seventy-nine with Devon then leading by over two hundred and fifty. Ward and Sargent had added forty-seven. Sargent's contribution in 2017 had been immense.
Another important contributor - Harry Ward was ending his CAG career unbeaten on twenty-six as another thirteen runs were added with Jamie Khan.
Devon declared at lunch and set Surrey a target of two hundred and sixty-five in something like sixty-nine overs.
There were two short intervals for rain as Surrey were bowled out off the first ball of the sixty-fifth over.
The Surrey openers put on thirty-two when the Surrey captain was well held at slip by Middleton to give Jefferson a wicket.
The second wicket fell in the seventeenth over with Sargent taking the catch to give Ed Middleton his first wicket - 61-2. Five runs later Middleton took his second bowling Scotland.
In the twenty-third over Middleton took a third catching Richardson off his own bowling.
The fifth wicket took Surrey past one hundred when Sam Taylor took his final dismissal of his CAG summer stumping Desai to give Middleton a fourth.
The sixth wicket pairing added the highest partnership of the innings adding forty-one and taking the visitors up to one hundred and fifty.
Middleton was making his mark now with a fifth with Elliott Adams taking the catch. The Clyst St George bowler had figures of 8-4-42-5 – a most impressive debut.
Gibbs was re-introduced to the attack in the fifty-ninth over and he took three of the final four wickets needed for victory. He bowled nineteen deliveries and did not concede a run. His final figures were 9-3-18-3.
Gibbs’ first victim was caught Adams, second leg before and third bowled. In between his second and third Middleton took a sixth.
The final four wickets all fell on 175 a devastating spell of bowling. Gibbs left for the Super Fours looking the exceptional bowler he is.
Middleton's 24-7-50-6 was the ninth best return for the sixteen's and likely to be the best debut figures at this level.
All the bowlers contributed and this had been an outstanding fielding and bowling performance
Heathcoat had been magnificent hosts and their first team watched the final overs before their own practice and it was good to catch up with some more old boys.
Ed Middleton's performance with the ball and slip catching gave real heart for the 2018 season.
Unfortunately the fifteens had lost to Surrey who in turn lost in the semi-final to Yorkshire the eventual fifteens champions who defeated Nottinghamshire.