Flashback to 2012 when Bovey Tracey beat Plymouth in the final of Devon T20 Cup at Exmouth – will history repeat itself in 2023<br>credit: Contributed

SANDFORD may be top of the Tolchards DCL Premier Division, but that does not make them favourites to lift the Wombat Cricket T20 Cup on Sunday (July 16)

It’s finals day on the Maer Ground at Exmouth – weather permitting – where two semi-finals and a final have been booked into a packed day of cricket.

Bovey Tracey meet Exeter at 10am in the first semi-final with Sandford up against Plympton at 1pm in the second.

The two winners will meet in the final, which is due to get under way at 4pm.

Plympton, more worried about staying in the Premier Division than winning it, won’t be going to make up the numbers and see no reason to be overawed by Sandford.

“Sandford are clearly a strong side and deserve their spot at the top of the table,” said Plympton’s Jonty Walliker, “however, Twenty20 is a very different game and is all about turning up on the day.

“Our naturally aggressive batsmen suit Twenty20 and if one of them gets going they can be quite difficult to set a field to.

“Hopefully we turn up and turn Sandford over, as Plymouth did earlier in the season in the group rounds.”

Jackson Thompson, the Sandford captain, is clearly on the same page as Walliker regarding the challenge of the match.

“In this format, it's anyone's game,” said Thompson.

“Plympton have a few decent players – so have we – and take no side lightly.”

Thompson, a handful himself in the shortest format of the game with bat or ball, won’t be playing at Exmouth as he has another cricketing appointment elsewhere.

“I am in Arundel playing and skippering the Duke of Norfolk’s XI versus the MCC,” said Thompson.

Indian professional Dikshanshu Negi will lead the Sandford side in Thompson’s absence.

Exeter could meet Sandford in the final if they get past Bovey, not that skipper Joe Gore will worry too much if their paths do cross.

“We are unphased by Sandford’s presence,” said Gore.

“We only dish respect out when it is earned so very much looking forward to the opportunity tomorrow.”

Gore pinpointed Felix Joseph as a player opponents should beware of on finals day as he has ‘an array of exciting shots’ in his locker, but not the only one.

“Everyone in the team is capable and ready,” said Gore.

Lewis Hammett, the Bovey Tracey skipper, said Ash Causey is a potential match-winner in his team, although not the only one.

“It only takes one person to come off in a side in Twenty20 cricket,” said Hammett. 

As for dangermen in the opposing side, Hammett had no hesitation naming Exeter’s Sam Read.

“Sam is a talented batsmen who hits a long ball,” said Hammett. “We were at the wrong end of a chanceless T20hundred of his a couple of seasons ago.”

Alex Bevilaqua, Bovey Tracey’s overseas player, did not play in Saturday’s league game at Sandford and remains unavailable for finals day.

Bovey Tracey know exactly what it is like to life the Devon T20 Cup at Exmouth as they did it back in 2012.

Bovey dispatched Heathcoat by six-wickets in the morning semi-final – Ben Ayres hitting 44 to help them pass the 150-to-win target – which set-up a clash with Plymouth in the final.

Neil Hancock (44) and Chris Bradley (36) helped Bovey reach 136 for seven, then Hancock capped a man-of-the-match performance with four wickets that helped the side to a nine-run win.

Sunday, July 39 has been set aside as the reserve date for the finals should bad weather prevent play going ahead.

The winning finalists will be Devon’s representatives in the first round of the ECB national competition, which is being hosted by Bridgwater CC in early August.