Matchday 8 brought a change to the normal 35 or 40 over match format with a T20 'double header' against Somerset at Whimple CC. These two matches would allow both teams a good opportunity to expose players in different match situations, therefore supporting their early development as young cricketers.
Somerset won the toss and expectedly asked Devon to take first dig on a dampish wicket due to the overnight rain. The Devon innings got off to a slow start against some accurate bowling and regular loss of wickets. After 8 overs the score stood at 27-3, but crucially Rory 'Run Machine' Oram-Evenett was still at the crease. The innings picked up pace as Oram-Evenett (43), Jack Martin (11) and Henry Squire (17) rotated the strike well to build a couple of 30+ partnerships. Devon closed on 99-6 after Henry Hassell added a couple of lusty blows in the 20th over. This looked a competitive target.
The Somerset innings took a similar pattern to the Devon one as the bowlers and some good ground fielding built early pressure. At the half way mark the score stood at 37-2 so it was there for both sides to seize the initiative. The Somerset pair of Jago Barclay (43) and Will Morgan-Hughes upped the rate with a mix of quick singles and boundaries to take the score to 89-2 with 3 overs to go. Tobias Alsop removed Barclay, a wicket for Archie Shawcross (1-10) and a smart run out by Martin meant Somerset needed 7 from the final over to win. Matthew Whalley rose to the challenge with a maiden over, with the only additions to the scoreboard being 2 byes. Wicket Keeper Ed Wilson completed a smart run out to add another cherry to the cake! A thrilling victory by 4 runs was well deserved.
The Man of the Match award went to Rory Oram-Evenett for his composed knock of 43 and run out of one of Somerset's openers.
Special mention to Mandy for producing a fantastic banquet for the players, coaches and parents. The traditional cricket tea is very alive and kicking at Whimple.
Somerset won the toss again, but this time decided to bat first. Somerset started well and at the 10 over mark had posted 53-1 with the only success being a early wicket for Henry Squire. Time to take the pace off ball - the spin twins of Jack Martin (1-15) and James Pugsley (1-17) got to work for the next 7 overs. The score stood at 77-4 with 3 to go. Freddie Wolfgang (1-14) and Squire (1-14) kept the brakes on and Somerset closed on 92-6.
The Devon reply started badly as Alsop, Whalley and Shawcross all fell early to leave the scoreboard showing 19-3 after after 5 overs. Plenty of work to be done to win this one. Henry Hassell and Tom Hellewell rebuilt the reply with a 38 run partnership in 8 overs to leave 41 required from 7 overs. Ed Wilson was run out in the 13th over which lead to Oram-Evenett entering the fray. It was time for bosh and it duly delivered in the next 5 overs. Hassell (49) fell one short of his maiden half-century after a quality short-pitched delivery lead to a caught and bowled. Victory by 4 wickets was completed in the 18th over with Oram-Evenett dispatching the spinner over the top for back-to-back boundaries.
The Man of the Match award went to Henry Hassell for his brilliant 49, run out and smart catch. Not too shabby!!
To win two close matches clearly showed that the benefits of progressive game-based learning and hard lessons learnt in defeats were having a positive effect on the performance levels of players and the team.
Next up for the Boys was due to be a match against Dorset on Thursday 9 August at Heathcoat CC, but unfortunately they have player availability issues. The squad will be now be enjoying a squad session on that day at HCC to keep developing those fielding skills and structured scenario-based middle practice sessions to continue the positive vibe going into the competitive challenges of the Kings College Festival (19 - 22 August). There will also be a Parents v. Squad challenge match on the day, so plenty of opportunity to see who knows more!!