Matchday thirteen took the boys to Millfield Preparatory School for a T20 'double header' against Somerset. The big question was could the lads finally break the losing streak in this format of the game.
Devon won the toss and asked Somerset to bat first.
Somerset started fast as Devon's opening pair of Henry Squire and Archie Shawcross struggled with their lengths and lines against the very positive approach of the opening batters. After only 6 overs the scoreboard showed 41-0. The 7th over brought some respite for Devon as a sharp piece of fielding by Shawcross brought success (46-1). This success was short-lived as the next 3 overs went for 27 to leave Somerset 73-1 at the halfway mark.
The introduction of Alfie Mason into the attack led to the wicket column increasing by 3 in overs 11 to 15, but still the Somerset batters kept up the run rate with some quality shots and strong running. The wheels had started to fall off in the field as too many extras were conceded, too many overthrows occurred and a number of simple chances were spilled. Somerset posted a daunting 144-6 in their 20 overs. The only highlights were Mason with 4-0-31-3 and run outs from Shawcross, Rory Oram-Evennett and Joe Gillett.
Devon needed to follow Somerset's approach of positive cricket throughout the innings. Unfortunately what followed was pretty much a disaster. Openers Harry Witcher and Matt Whalley both got bowled for goldies in overs 1 and 2 and the remaining batters struggled to get anything going against the Somerset attack which mixed hostility and accuracy very well. Devon's innings was a huge disappointment and posting 74-6 on a good pitch was very poor. Devon's response included a incredible 76 dot balls - arrgghh. The only highlights being James Pugsley who snapped his run of ducks with a hard-fought 16 and a quickfire partnership of 24 by Oram-Evennett and Mason in the final 3 overs.
Surely things could only get better in Game 2.
The interval led to the team receiving a rocket from the Coaching team and a reaffirmation on how the boys need to dig deep and execute the basics of the game to be more successful.
Somerset won the toss and asked Devon to bat.
With the Coaching rocket still fizzing around the opening pair of Jack Martin and Henry Squire cracked on with things superbly as bad balls were dispatched and the number of dot balls reduced to a minimum as the strike was rotated. Martin (17) was trapped in front in the 10th over with the score on 57. It was now up to the rest to at least double the score in the remaining 10 overs.
Oram-Evennett fell in the next over (61-2) and Squire was caught at deep point for 18 in the 12th over (63-3). The scoring rate slowed against some more disciplined bowling from Somerset and the inability of the middle order to continue in the same vein as the openers. Matt Whalley (19 no) provided some grunt, including a big 6 over square leg, as he and Joel Kopparambil (7 no) posted a sixth wicket partnership of 25 to take the score to 100-5 off 20 overs. The batting effort this time around was so much better than Game 1, but would it be enough?
Whalley's innings obviously fired him up as he started on a 'one man' mission to blow the game apart. A smart bit of fielding of his bowling ran out one of the openers third ball and then three quick deliveries knocking out off stump each time in overs 3 and 5 left Somerset shell shocked on 14-4. Devon gambled and kept Whalley going to hunt more wickets. Whalley's final figures of 4-0-18-3 (including 11 dot balls) had Devon well and truly in the hunt for victory.
Somerset rebuilt their innings around partnerships of 30 for the fifth and 37 for the sixth to leave them needing 19 from the last 6 overs. Devon kept fighting with a smart catch by Shawcross off Tobias Alsop and a sharp stumping by Harry Witcher off Basil Crosthwaite-Eyre, but it was not enough against a strong middle order fight back. Somerset finally passing the winning mark in the 19th over.
Devon can be proud with their attitude, commitment and hard work in the second game as it was much more reflective on how they have developed as players and a team over the season.
Matchday fourteen is the final one of the season and it see's a road trip to play Gwent at Llanarth CC on Thursday 22nd August.