CONRAD SUTCLIFFE AT FILHAM PARK
HARRY Choules was the toast of the Thorverton dressing room on Sunday night after blasting the team to a four-wicket win over Plymouth 2ndXI in the Ivor Dewdney-sponsored Corinthian Cup final.
Plymouth’s batting-first total of 146 for six looked around par for the course on a dark, damp and dismal finals day at Ivybridge’s Filham Park ground.
Thorverton were up around eight-an-over territory halfway through the Twenty20-format match – with Andy Pitt (30) long gone and Paul Fielder just out for 25.
With six overs to bowl the target was 58 to win and Plymouth appeared to be in the driving seat. Choules and Ben Slaviero potentially changed the direction of the game in the next six balls.
Plymouth skipper Jimmy Haffenden was pumped for 16 runs in the next over – Slaviero clubbing two sixes along the way.
When Slaviero (16) was dismissed in the next over there was an inevitable slow down and for an over and a half Haffenden and Sam White kept the lid on Thorverton.
Three overs out the target was 34 to win and the game tilting Plymouth’s way again.
Choules and George Daldorph took eight off White, but it was what happened next that was the most remarkable passage of the game.
Haffenden had to keep bowling himself as Tom Hughes had injured himself while batting. Daldorph hit the first ball for six then scampered a leg-bye that put Choules back on strike.
It took Choules four hits to level the scores – a six, a four of a no-ball, another six and a single – which left Daldorph to dab the ball between mid-wicket and mid-on for the winning single.
That over had earned Thorverton 26 runs and won the game and the cup with an over to spare, which would have been bowled by former Devon left-arm pacer Dave Burke.
Harry Choules finished unbeaten on 40 from 28 balls and Daldorph was 12 not out.
Jake Choules, the cup-winning captain, said had his brother not gone ballistic when he did the outcome could have been different.
“We knew Burke had an over left and as he had bowled his first three for just 12 runs it would not have been an ideal scenario,” said the skipper.
“My brother batted brilliantly and proved the saying that it can only take one big over to change a Twenty20 game.
“We managed to drag Plymouth to what was around a par score after they had batted really well in the powerplay.
“Our spinners – Andy Pitt (2-32), Alex Jopling (0-19) and myself (3-18) – slowed it right down. The way Plymouth were going they looked on course for 180-plus.
“It’s a decade or more since we last won any silverware. No we want to make it a double celebration by winning promotion too.”
Beaten captain Haffenden walked off with his head in his hands and said later: “I have not had many worse days on a cricket pitch.”
Burke, the team’s senior player and a former Plymouth 1st XI captain, said Haffenden had to deal with selection headaches galore before the game and should not be too hard on himself.
“Jim has captained amazingly well and used his resources brilliantly to get us to the final, considering a lot of our second team are ineligible for the competition,” said Burke.
“And to put the highest-ranked team in the competition under that amount of pressure was a great effort.”
Thorverton reached the final with a comfortable seven-wicket win over Sampford Peverell & Tiverton in the lunchtime semi.
Lewis Hough top scored on 41 for SP&T, who were all-out for 85 in the 19thover. Jopling had three wickets for Thorverton and Jacob Broom two.
David Baldock (34) and Ali Chilcott (23no) knocked-off the runs with the minimum of fuss.
Plymouth’s route to the final was via a three-wicket win over Stoke Gabriel in a closely contested morning semi that went right down to the final over.
Opener Andy Kingdon batted from start to finish for Stoke for an unbeaten 84 in their total of 144 for five.
Plymouth stumbled to 35 for four in reply, but an undefeated 75 off 46 balls from Hughes eased them into the final with five balls to spare.
IVOR DEWDNEY CORINTHIAN CUP FINALS DAY
Semi-final one: Stoke Gabriel 144-5 (A Kingdon 84no, S Rooney 12, H Yeates 12; D J Burke 2-29, A Rahmanzai 2-22), Plymouth 148-7 (T Hughes 75no, J Hughes 11no; A Kingdon 2-27). Plymouth bt Stoke Gabriel by 3 wkts.
Semi-final two: Sampford Peverell & Tiverton 85 (L Hough 41; A Jopling 3-17, J Broom 2-2), Thorverton 89-3 (D Baldock 34, A Chilcott 24no; D Pugsley 2-7). Thorverton bt Sampford Peverell & Tiverton by 7 wkts.
Final: Plymouth 146-6 (A Sanapala 57, T Hughes 26no, S White 17; J Choules 3-18, A Pitt 2-32), Thoverton 147-6 (H Choules 40no, A Pitt 30, P Fielder 25; F Ali 2-24). Thoverton bt Plymouth by 4 wkts.