STEVE BIRLEY REPORTING FOR DEVON CRICKET
EXMOUTH powered their way into finals Day of the Servicemaster Clean Devon T20 Cup with a three-wicket win over Sidmouth on Monday evening.
It will be Exmouth’s second successive trip to finals day and they will hope to do better than 2017 when they lost by four wickets to Torquay.
Sidmouth won the toss and opted to bat first and both Exmouth opening bowlers, David Lye and Peter Turnbull struck in the early overs to see the visitors on 24-2.
Lye sent Matt Cooke back, bowled for three off the 12th ball he received and Turnbull ended an 11-ball stay from Dec Lines thanks to a Louis Morison catch.
Lye claimed a second wicket – again hitting the stumps – to dismiss Henry Gater (5) with the score then 46-3, but Sidmouth skipper Luke Bess was then joined by Nick Gingell and the pair took the total to 79 when Bess holed out to Turnbull off the bowling of Callum French for a 29-ball, three boundary, 29.
Gingell and Eliot Rice took the total past 100 before Gingell was caught Turnbull, bowled French for a 39-ball, four-boundary 38. That wicket left Sidmouth on 107-5 and there followed a serious collapse with the next four wickets falling for the addition of just nine runs!
It was skipper Bob Dawson who did the damage! Dawson had Robbie Powell stumped off the second ball he faced without troubling the scorers and next man in, Jash Patidar fell in the same fashion and, with Thomas Moore trapped leg before he became the third Sidmouth batsman to register a duck.
The last wicket to fall was that of Rice, caught by George Greenway of French for a 15-ball, two boundary, 17 as the Sidmouth innings ended on 116-9 after their 20 overs.
The Maer men’s bowling honours were shared by French (3-23) and Dawson (3-27) while the other wickets fell to Lye (2-21) and Turnbull (1-28). Andrew Buzza was the other bowler used and, while he did not record a wicket, his four overs went for just 17 runs – by far the most economical return of the five bowlers used.
Baggs and Lye launched the reply, but they were parted with 16 on the score board with Lye clean bowled by Cooke who then also saw off Baggs, clean bowling him for six and Exmouth were 27-2. That became 32-3 with the loss of Peter Turnbull, caught by Robbie Powell off the bowling of Luke Bess for 10.
Dawson, batting at number five, joined Sandy Allen, who came to the crease at the fall of the second wicket and the pair took the run chase to 72 when Dawson, on 13 from 17 deliveries, was caught by Eliot Rice off the bowling of Nick Gingell. Another 17 runs were added when Allen became the fifth home wicket to fall, but not before he had scored 35 from 27 balls faced.
Billy Rudolph was next to go, also caught by Rice off the Gingell bowling having scored five to leave Exmouth 99-6. Crucially, for the Maer men, Andrew Buzza, batting at number six, was still there and he was joined by Alvin Pollard and the pair got their side to within four runs of the winning line when Pollard fell to a Powell catch to give Gingell a third wicket.
Morison came out to join Buzza and rifled the third ball of the 19th and penultimate over to see the Maer men to victory and that coveted place at finals Day which is being held at Budleigh Salterton on Sunday, July 15.
For Sidmouth, Gingell’s return was the best of the bowlers with his figures being 3-25 from a full four overs while Matt Cooke’s return was 2-20 from four.
Also through to Finals Day are B Division Cullompton who knocked out Premier Division basement side Sandford last week. The other two places for the July 15 meeting will be taken by the winners of the Thursday night (June 28) meeting between Plymouth and Cornwood and the Sunday, July 8, meeting between North Devon and Bradninch.