Ben Beaumont receiving Devon's young player of the year award, a bat donated by England cricketer Moeen Ali, from county president Jack Davey<br>credit: Conrad Sutcliffe - no re-use without copyright owner's consent


BATTER Ben Beaumont showed why he was about to be named Devon’s young player of the year with a big-hitting burst in the 80-run win over Herefordshire that clinched the Western Division One title.

Devon officials had already decided prior to the start of the third day’s play at Sidmouth that Beaumont would be collecting the award, a bat donated annually by England all-rounder Moeen Ali.

Beaumont, 21 not out overnight, got off the mark with a one-bounce four between mid-off and extra cover that disappeared into the deck chairs in the same way a stone sinks after skipping across a flat-calm sea.

Beaumont hammered eight fours and three sixes – one an outrageous switch-hit behind square – as he advanced to 77 not out in an additional 24 balls.

Plympton’s Elliot Hamilton, the first-day hero with an unbeaten 154, went a little more sedately on the way from 37 to 51 not out before Devon declared 359 runs ahead on 253 for four. They had scored 74 runs in 6.5 overs!

Dave Tall, Devon CCC’s director of cricket, said between them Beaumont and Hamilton almost batted Herefordshire out of the game.Devon's Ben Privett piling-up the runs against Herefordshire

“Elliot batted as well as I have ever seen him and Ben just keeps getting better and better,” said the former Plymouth captain and Devon all-rounder.

Beaumont, whose form for club and county has been outstanding this season, as previously credited a winter playing Grade cricket in Australia as a factor in becoming a better cricketer.

Reflecting on the recognition the young player award confers, Beaumont said: “I now have the confidence to occupy the crease for longer periods and the backing from others to go out and just play my natural game. 

“I think I have matured as a person, and as a cricketer, which has stood me in good stead this season across all three formats.”

Tall also had several words of praise for Ben Privett, who has flourished in as an opening batsman following promotion up the order from the second all-rounder slot at number eight.

Plympton batsman Elliot Hamilton receiving his Devon cap from county president Jack DaveyPrivett made 43 in the win over Cheshire in the previous round of fixtures, followed by 57 and 42 against Herefordshire.

“It has been a frustrating couple of years for Ben as injuries delayed him getting into the side as quickly as everyone wanted,” said Tall.

“In the space of just a few games he looks like someone who has been in the side for years.”

Devon had to work hard to bowl Herefordshire out for the second time in the match – caretaker captain James Horler said later ‘we were never handed wickets’ – but four scalps each for Sam Read and Max Shepherd helped win the game early in the last hour’s play.

Waiting for Devon in the four-day final at West Bromwich Dartmouth CC in early September are East champions Buckinghamshire, who did enough in a 115-run defeat by Suffolk to move ahead of Staffordshire at the top of their table.

Devon 377-9 dec (E H Hamilton 154no, B H Privett 54; B J Chapman-Lilley 3-71) & 253-4 (B A Beaumont 77no, E H Hamilton 51no, B H Privett 42), Herefordshire 271 (B J Chapman-Lilley 118, C J Haggett 3-35) & 279 (B J Chapman-Lilley 51, C I Smith 56, R B S Venkataraman 68; M B Shepherd 4-84, S O Read 4-67). Devon (24pts) bt Herefordshire (6) by 80 runs.