SIDMOUTH still have a share of top spot in the Premier Division after they won by three-wickets at Plymouth.
James Burke, the former Somerset and Surrey all-rounder, compiled a top score of 82 as Plymouth totalled 155 all out.
Sidmouth were a wobbly 98 for five in reply when Cape Cobras’ star Aviwe Mgijima fell to Matt Petherbridge (4-19) and at that point the game could have gone either way.
Plymouth literally let the chance of victory slip through their fingers by dropping catch after catch.
Devon captain Josh Bess was dropped twice on his way to 29, Mgijima was dropped too – and that was just the start of it!
The costly drops were Henry Gater on the boundary and Will Murray, who offered Harry Ramsden a tough caught-and-bowled chance.
It was Gater (37), then Robbie Powell and Murray who got Sidmouth over the line after spinners Ramsden (2-38) and Petherbridge disrupted the chase.
Luke Bess, the Sidmouth captain, still has memories of losing at Mount Wise on the final day of last season if his post-match comments are anything to go by.
“Plymouth away is always a difficult game and I was glad to come away with a result after a difficult chase,” said the Sidmouth skipper.
Burke, who opened up and batted for 43 overs, was the lynchpin of the Plymouth innings.
James Toms (25) shared a stand of 68 for the fourth wicket with Burke, which was Plymouth’s best.
Pick of the bowlers for Sidmouth with three wickets each were Murray (3-21) and Charlie Miles (3-26).
Plymouth bowled too short and with too much width at Sidmouth openers Matt Cooke (25) and Bess (29), who race to 41 without loss after seven overs.
Ramsden, Petherbridge and Faizan Riaz got some control back as Plymouth slowed to 98 for five at halfway.
Gater saw Sidmouth through any lingering difficulties during his 50-ball stay. By the time he went the target was 13 to win with three wickets intact and 15 overs to go.
Sidmouth won in similar circumstances against Sandford seven days earlier, although this time Bess felt a wearing pitch was more of a factor.
“We would have batted if we had won the toss as we expected the pitch to behave the way it did,” said Bess.
“Plymouth were in a very strong position at 115 for three, but we pulled it back and bowled and fielded well.
“Once again we had a good start but then collapsed.
“We had our share of luck but the lower order got us there in the end.”
Opposite number Jon Varcoe had his own take on the ‘luck’ Bess referred to.
“Dropped catches lost us the game,” said a rueful Varcoe.
“We created enough chances to win, but just didn't take them.”
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