PREMIER TIER TOP-FOR PLAY-OFFS by CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
HEATHCOAT’S hopes of lifting the Premier Tier title were dashed when they lost by 50 runs to Sidmouth in the play-off final.
Sidmouth were able to parade their first-pick top four batting line-up, unlike Heathcoat, who had to manage without former Devon batters Liam Lewis and Rob Holman.
A respectable bowling effort held Sidmouth to 248 for six in their 45 overs, total full-strength Heathcoat would have fancied chasing down.
Heathcoat got to 179 for four in reply, then lost four more wickets for two runs scored and that was their race run.
It was Heathcoat’s first defeat in eight games since competitive cricket started in late July, which is a record not to be sniffed at.
Peter Randerson, the Heathcoat captain, had no complaints about the outcome.
“Sidmouth were the better team,” said Randerson. “It was a good day and there were some real positives to take from this season.
“Let’s all hope we can get back to normal next year.”
Sidmouth hurtled to 127 without loss thanks to Alex Barrow (70) and Josh Bess (55) before Tom Reynolds (2-39) made a breakthrough for Heathcoat.
Luke Bess and Byron Knowles both missed out, but a further stand of 53 between skipper Zak Bess (42) and Dylan Hurst (47) took Sidmouth into the 200s.
Randerson opened up with 56 off 55 balls for Heathcoat.. When he went Jamie Drew (34) and Jake Stoneman (39) kept the board ticking over.
Stoneman’s dismissal by Knowles (4-25) was the beginning of the end for Sidmouth. Luke Bess and Jordan Fowler got in on the act with two wickets each as Heathcoat crumbled.
SANDFORD exploited Cornwood’s bowling woes to beat them by 80 runs in the Premier runners-up play-off.
Five recognised bowlers is the minimum requirement for 45-over cricket - and it’s handy to have a respectable part-timer in reserve.
Cornwood knew they were light on bowlers going into the game - Matt Tamsett and Adam Goodliffe were both missing – and nine fiddled overs from two part-timers cost the side 85 runs. It isn’t rocket science to figure out where the game got away from the Wood.
Sandford clattered along to 229 all out in the last of their 45 overs. Opener Ryan Glass pummelled the bowling for 143 before he was eighth out on 215.
“It was a brilliant innings by Glassy – one of the best I have seen on a pitch doing all sorts,” said Sandford skipper Richard Foan.
“He was the difference and I don't thinks anyone is in better form in the county.”
Sandford were variously 33 for four and 114 for six and glad Glass was sticking around as no one else made more than 13. In a stand of 63 for the eighth wicket, Glass made 56 of the runs!
Skeemer (3-35) and Adam Talbott (3-46) were there Wood’s leading wicket takers. Jackson Thompson (9-1-26-1) offered little to go after.
Cornwood had a disastrous start that saw both openers in and out for two on the board, followed by Skeemer at 21 for three.
Elliott Staddon (58) and Matt Butterworth (25) chipped away at the deficit during a stand of 84 for the fourth wicket.
Sandford spinner Harry Everett dismissed Staddon with a stumping then bowled Butterworth as 105 for three became 108 for five.
Everett went on to claim five Cornwood wickets for 33 runs as the home side evaporated to 149 all out.
Looking back over the season, Foan said the highs outweighed lows, such as losing two-thirds of all league games to Covid.
“Numbers have never been better and the only two games we lost were against a better team,” said Foan.
“Apart from that we have improved again and that is all we can ask for.
“It was a difficult season for everyone and I think we have been lucky to play the cricket we have. “Everyone has had a go and shown what they can do excited for what next year has to offer.”
Foan also squeezed in a word of praise for the volunteer workers who make cricket happen at clubs such as Sandford.
"It has been a tough year and so many people have given there own time to make sure had a safe environment in which to play cricket," said Foan.
CULLOMPTON came up short on the chase in the minor-placings play-off game against Shaldon Optimists.
There was a definite end-of-season air to proceedings as Shaldon cruised to 304 for eight. Cullompton slipper Jason Parr used 10 different bowlers; only keeper Euan Tinley did not turn his arm over.
Seamus McKenna, once a Premier player with Bovey Tracey, made 80 for Shaldon. Other notable contributors were Todd Ballman (39), Joe Wilcox (31), Carl Woolnough (52) and Tschepo Legodi (35no).
Shaldon entered into the spirit of the occasion by deploying eight bowlers to keep the game alive.
Tinley (68) and Jason Parr had been in and out in a running total of 143 for five.
Brendon Parr thudded six sixes and the same number of fours on his way to a brisk 85 in Cully’s reply of 281 all out.
HARRY Kandampully stroked 87 and there was a half-century for Jack Horton in Plympton’s 29-run win over Hatherleigh in the Premier Tier play-off for fourth place.
Privett and Horton (54) paired up on 93 for three and added 99 for the fourth wicket towards Plympton’s eventual total of 236 for seven.
Sean Letheren (2-33) and Ruben Forrester (2-24) were the only Hatherleigh bowlers to take more than one wicket and stay below four an over.
Hatherleigh started confidently – openers Niall Lehay (30) and Rob Fishleigh (37) put on 70 – then Jasper Presswell (28) and Adam Quick (26) had a hand in getting the running total up to 174 for four. Then it all went wrong for Hatherleigh.
Wickets tumbled to Ben Privett (3-37) and Sam Wood (3-28) as the home side faded to 207 all out.