Mitch Pugh  - in the runs for Torquay

TORQUAY found Abbotskerswell a tough nut to crack in the derby date on the Recreation Ground.

Third-wicket pair George Allen (40) and Mitchell Pugh (50) put on 99 after Ricky Small-Boyce (2-51) had knocked over both openers.

Sam Carpenter (3-43), a former Torquay player, broke the stand and knocked over Tom Drake first ball.

With Noah Tobias (3-24) also among the wickets, Torquay slumped from 120 for two to 137 for six then 148 for eight.

The rot stopped with Kazi Szymanski (33no) and Matt Beasant, an old Abbots’ hand, who put on 39 for the ninth wicket.

As the game unfolded that stand between Szymanski and Beasant turned out to be decisive.

Abbots’ batting collapsed in a hurry with Szymanski (2-29), Ben Passenger (3-26) and Pugh (2-19) sending them back.

Nick Watkin made 18 which was as good as it got for Abbots, up to the fall of the ninth wicket at 68. Franco Kasner (3-35) did the later damage.

Not long now, thought the Torquay fielders when last man Eddie Smout-Cooper came out to join Small-Boyce, which just goes to show how wrong you can be!

A stand of 88 for the last wicket kept Torquay in the field for over after over.

Smout-Cooper went past Small-Boyce from a standing start to top score with 45 batting at number 11. He faced 57 balls and hit eight fours.

Small-Boyce was 42 not out from 72 deliveries, six of which he hit for four.

The stand was a new record for this division, easily surpassing the 66 posted by Plymstock tail-enders Ian Whalley and Simon Morris back in 2005.

Torquay captain Allen said looking back the stand between Szymanski and Beasant was pivotal.

“Without it we would have been in trouble,” said Allen.

On Abbots’ batting performance, Allen said: “Hats off to their last pair, they batted very well.

“The damage was really done when the ball was new.”

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