Tavistock batter Rhys Davies, whose studious innings took his side in touching distance of victory<br>credit: Conrad Sutcliffe - no re-use without copyright owner's consent

TAVISTOCK chairman Dave Manning has called for a proper target-checking procedure to be put in place, and displayed correctly on scoreboards, after his side’s three-run defeat at Thorverton.

Frequent rain breaks made the game a miserable business for players and officials alike and potentially contributed to Tavistock losing a game they felt they should have won.

The Tolchards DCL uses the Duckworth-Lewis System to determine targets in rain-affected games – and it swung into action after Thorverton’s innings squelched to a halt with nearly six overs to go with their total on 156 for seven.

The Duckworth-Lewis ready reckoner posted a target of 172 for a Tavistock win, which was subsequently lowered a second time after a break for rain. And that is when things started to go wrong.

Manning, a former 1st XI captain, who played in the game, said confusion arose between umpires, scorers and players over what should be displayed on the scoreboard.

“When we came off for rain our total was 16 for two,” said Manning. “Duckworth-Lewis was recalculated and our new target was 156.

“On the scoreboard there was no area to put a ‘to win’ score and that led to a lot of the confusion. If we needed 156 to win and already had 16 of them, what remained was 140 to get.

“Unfortunately, the scoreboard at Thorverton only had an area for the first-innings score, which was mistakenly put up as 140, which was what we still needed, not what we needed overall.

“The error was only noticed with about eight overs to go, by then it was getting a bit late to change the way we were batting.

“Even at the end there was some more confusion as it was unclear whether 156 was the target, or the Thorverton total. 

“Jack Bellamy had clobbered the penultimate ball back over the bowler’s head for six, but we did not know until it was checked again whether we had to hit the last one for four or six to win it.

“A four would have been enough and had we done it we would not be having this conversation!”

Manning said he was not criticising any of the match-day officials’ just the protocol.

Said Manning: “Every time there is a stoppage due to rain the umpires and scorers should agree the new totals and communicate that to the captains.

“In a perfect world all the information would be on the scoreboard – and some clubs like ourselves plug the scorer’s laptop into the scoreboard and there it all is.

“Not everyone can do that – there is a cost – so something has to be put in place to ensure everyone involved in the game knows exactly what’s going on.”

Thorverton’s total of 156 for seven was based on runs in the top four from Andy Pitt (28), Dan Robbins (25) and Brendan Coetzee (25). Ben Slaviero added a valuable 18 not out at the end.

Rhys Davies led Tavistock’s bowling effort with three for 27 from nine overs. There were miserly spells from Billy Barriball, Shaun Daymond and Dimuth Sandaruwan.

Tavistock were 16 for two at the rain break – and 16 for three almost immediately after going back as Sandaruwan went without further addition.

Davies and Manning paired-up at 30 for four and started the fightback with a stand worth 52.

Manning (28) was followed by Harry Geering (17) as Tavvy kept chipping away at the deficit.

In the scramble for runs at the death Tavistock went from 143 for six to 146 for nine with Davies among the casualties for a hard-earned 58.

Bellamy and Sean Cleave kept going right to the end, but were one big hit short in the final totting-up.

Jake Choules, the Thorverton captain, said defending a low total successfully depended on getting one thing right: the bowling.

“We batted reasonably well, but it was the quality of our bowling that was the difference,” said Choules.

“George and Ben just made it so difficult for Tavistock to score runs – and players like Rhys Davies (ex-MCC Young Cricketers Programme) are hard to bowl out.

“Andy Pitt bowled the last over and he deserves a special shout out for keeping cool under real pressure.”