DEVON Under-14s bounced back from their drubbing in Berkshire, with a convincing 78-run win over Wiltshire at Abbotskerswell in the Royal London Cup.
Devon scored an impressive 312 for eight in their 50 overs. The score was built on the foundations set by the top-three batters. Jake Pascoe (86), figured in an opening partnership of 86 with skipper Jack Whittaker (31), and followed this with 93 between himself and Lawrence Walker (70).
Walker punished the Wiltshire attack severely, along with Alec Holyfield (28), and Troy Dos Santos (32no) as an anchorman. Between overs 30-40 they smashed 96 runs and a score of England proportions looked possible.
The run rate slowed as wickets fell in pursuit of 350. The final score was probably 20 short what the management team would have liked after the first 40 overs.
Wiltshire struggled against the pace and accuracy of Heathcoat’s new signing, Ed Butler. He finished with 4-41 from his 10 overs. At 112 for six at the half way point the game looked all but over. Wiltshire’s number four Ben Howgrave-Graham, fresh from 100 in the same competition the week before, had other ideas. He found a willing accomplice in new partner Harley Sandford.
In the next 11 overs they plundered the Devon attack, with a partnership of 96. Devon’s spinners, Passenger and Kopparambil, bore the brunt of the onslaught.
At this point there were some nervous home spectators. The re-introduction of Butler saw him bring the end of Sandford, as he took a steepling caught and bowled, for an entertaining 46.
With only the late order for company the result looked secure, and it was only a question of whether Howgrave-Graham could reach a deserved century. He completed his second ton in a week before holing out to James Tyler somewhere between long-on and deep mid-wicket.
Manager Nigel Ashplant was quick to praise the team.
“This was an excellent bounce back after an under-par performance in Berkshire,” said Ashplant.
“The top three all batted with intent and set the foundation.
“Ed Butler bowled two decisive spells, and showed what a promising cricketer he is.
“The fielding and catching was well up to standard, and the performance augurs well for next week’s clash at Taunton School (11am) against next door neighbours Somerset.”