The Under 11 Boys second matchday was against Gwent at Braunton Cricket Club, which promised to be a close contest given last season's evenly-matched encounter.
The planned start time for the 40-over match had been put back from 12:30 to 1:30 PM on Saturday to avoid the forecasted morning rain. Unfortunately a further adjustment of a hour was necessary when the pre-match warm-up was interrupted by heavy rain. A early tea was taken which allowed the outfield to dry in the bright and breezy conditions and a 2:30 PM start was scheduled for a 35-over match.
Gwent won the toss and elected to bat.
Matt Whalley and Freddie Wolfgang opening spells kept it tight and after 8 overs, Gwent were on 18-1, with one of their openers also retired hurt after taking a blow to the toes from a corking yorker. The first change bowlers of skipper Henry Squire and Alfie Mason (3-7) kept Devon on top as Gwent struggled to 45-4 after 18 overs.
The Gwent batsman continued to find it difficult to score as Archie Shawcross, James Pugsley and Fletch Byrne started to work there way through the middle and lower order. The tight bowling was complimented with a stunning throw from the boundary by Rory Oram-Evenett to complete a run out much to the batsman surprise as he thought it was a easy 2. The Gwent innings now stood at 79-8 after 25 overs.
Whalley returned to the attack and cleaned up the last 2 batsman with his devastating yorkers. The innings closed on 84. Given Devon's batting woes against Dorset two weeks ago, this had all the makings of a close game. Special mention must go to Ed Wilson who had an action display behind the stumps!
Devon's reply stuttered from the start as they fell to 6-3 after 4 overs. Alfie Mason and Elijah Pyne misjudged the line of their deliveries and Jack Martin fell to a sharp slip catch. It was time to rebuild. Oram-Evennett (25) and Joe Gillett (15) led the fight back before another 3 wicket blitz left Devon 54-6 after 17 overs.
The Gwent bowlers kept the pressure on and Devon crawled to 69-8 after 24 overs. The pressure was now on both teams to close out a close victory. Squire (13) and Wilson crafted a 13 run partnership before Squire fell to a ctach behind. This left 11 required off 8 overs by the last pair of Wilson and James Pugsley.
The pressure built as did the number of dot ball deliveries. The Gwent Captain bought spin into the attack to further test the tailenders, but this allowed some quick singles to be taken with pushes into the cover area. The scores were leveled in the 32nd over and on the 3rd ball Pugsley squirted a ball away to point and the winning run was completed. Queue a celebration!!
Both teams can be happy with their bowling and fielding work, but the application of the batters will need more improvement.
Next up for the boys is a 40-over match against Wiltshire at Ottery St. Mary CC on Sunday 23rd June.