DEVON’S Under-10 Boys began their County age-group journey with an impressive six-wicket victory over Gwent at a sun drenched Newport CC
Matthew Whalley took the reins for the first match and having lost the toss, his team were asked to field.
On what looked like a good pitch and a fast outfield a good start looked essential.
Henry Squire and Freddie Wolfgang took the new ball and their eight-over opening spell left Gwent 18-2, with both wickets to Wolfgang.
The first change bowlers of Henry Hassell and Archie Shawcross kept the pressure firmly on and at the first drinks break the score had only moved on by one run to 19-2 after 12 overs.
Gwent came out with a different game plan after drinks and moved the score onto 78-2 by the time the second drinks break was taken after 24 overs.
The combined effects of the hot weather on the concentration of fielders, slightly less penetrative bowling and the good application of the Gwent batters made the middle overs tough for Devon.
Devon continued to give their bowling attack short sharp spells to try and break the third-wicket partnership. Success finally came in the 34th over when Shawcross struck. Gwent batters Krige (36) and Newington-Bridges (50no) had completed a superb 112-run partnership in 29 overs. Gwent closed on 131-3 after their 35 overs.
The Devon openers of Tobias Alsop and Jack Martin started briskly and had moved the score on to 20 in the third over when Martin misjudged the length of a delivery and was bowled.
The runs continued to flow as Rory Oram-Evenett joined Alsop. A mix of dispatching the bad balls for 2s and 4s and strike rotation, albeit a little adventurous at times kept the runs coming.
A partnership of 32 in 6 overs was ended was again a misjudgement of length cost Oram-Evenett his wicket. A third wicket fell a few balls later as James Talbot was run out without facing when the flip side of adventurous running was seen.
With the score on 52-3 Devon needed to rebuild as there were still 26 overs to go. The captain came to wicket and calmed any nerves by striking the ball into the outfield and the boundary with a array of quality shots to score 37 at more than a run a ball.
Alsop and Whalley took the score to 121 in the 20th over when Whalley fell to a good catch at mid-wicket. Alsop and Mason finished the job off in the 22nd over.
Tobias Alsop finished with a beautifully complied 46 not out to take the man of the match award - not bad for a nine year old on his debut.
There is still much to work on and learn, but it's always good to start the season with a win, especially when it's the first ever County match for all the players.
Next up for the Boys is Dorset at Bournemouth CC on Sunday, June 3.