MOORE OF THE SAME FOR WEEKS TO COME…
Nick Gingell Reports....
The Sea Gulls welcomed Exmouth to the Fortfield this week in the hope that victory could narrow the gap on their high flying arch rivals. The intensity of the home side was evident early as a fierce game of football ensued. Helped by a cameo performance from Will ‘Douglas Bader’ Murray in the veterans goal, the “Young’ns” secured a rare and much celebrated draw.
It is tradition at this point where discussions take place and focus turns to the notion of what to do should the toss be won. Curiously, Sidmouth are currently in the position of knowing exactly what they are doing before Luke has even taken a step towards the officials in the middle. I would suggest that in future weeks the openers may as well turn up fully padded up and save a bit of time. Sure enough the skipper duly obliged by losing his 8th consecutive toss and Sidmouth were inserted. I have no doubt that Bess Senior was up with Luke until the early hours of the morning working on his ‘flipping’ technique.
Exmouth unveiled one of their new recruits, Sam Harris, with the new ball. At 6ft 7, Harris is an intimidating figure and had a touch of the Ivan Drago’s about him. Perhaps Matt Cooke was dreaming of adding to his local Rocky- Film lookalike selfie collection when Harris splayed the left handers stumps for just 8. Fortunately for Sidmouth this was a rare full delivery as, in helpful conditions, the Exmouth opening bowlers decided instead to test out the middle of the pitch with a succession of short pitched deliveries. Josh Bess was only too happy to put the “rubbish in the bin” and a lot of his early runs were cut and pulled to the boundary. In the hope of finding someone who could pitch the ball up, opposition Skipper Dick Baggs turned to his trump card. Enter Robert Dawson. Robert used all of his clout as former Devon Captain and old Pro to entice an LBW decision against home Skipper Bess. While Robert celebrated in the Flintoff mould, arms aloft, shouting “come on Bobby”, Bess had to trudge off feeling more than a little aggrieved.
The Wicket of Luke brought brother Zach to the crease. Zach continued his excellent recent form, mixing aggression with strike rotation and despite one family mix up, very rarely looked in any danger. The Bess duo both serenely passed individual landmarks and negotiated the ‘tricky 120’s” (the point where Sidmouth have collapsed on more than one occasion this year). On 93 and with a hundred at his mercy Josh was out to a smart return catch by Billy Rudolph. This was an excellent knock and the partnership of 101 with Zach helped form the backbone of the Sidmouth innings. Nick Mansfield was next man in and progressed on his quest to the hallowed Olympic Rings by failing to trouble the scorers for the 3rd game in succession. I hear on the grapevine that Nick is employing batting coaches, Sam Richardson and Barney Huxtable to help him out of his little rut. Good luck Nick.
With whispers on the home balcony now turning to the possibility that we might actually bat for 50 overs, Sidmouth decided to do what they do best and lose a flurry of wickets including the crucial one of Zach for a well made 72. It was left to the throw down twins of Barlow and Murray to Stroke, whack, nurdle and hack their way to a vital 8th wicket partnership of 40 in just 5 overs. This added vital impetuous at the back end of the innings and propelled the Home Side to a very competitive total of 269.
Fuelled by Yellow Bread and mystery Jam Surprises, all attention turned to the bowling unit who were probably still scratching their heads wondering what to do with so many runs on the board. One of the advantages of batting first is seeing how the ball behaved and hopefully learning how to bowl on a pitch that you have just batted on for 3 hours. Perhaps feeling a little guilty that he had dispatched so many short balls that the opposition served up, Josh decided to give a few back and was duly punished by 2 of the better players of pull and hook shots in the division. When the ball was in the right area Josh was also creating plenty of chances. Cricket and Cricketing techniques are evolving all the time and young wicket keeper Tom Moore (on debut) certainly brought his own, unique style to wicket keeping. Unfortunately on this occasion Tom couldn’t quite hang on to those chances but it would have been a great experience for a young player with massive cricketing potential. Another positive is that it was certainly a debut that will never be forgotten and likely to be regaled over an ale or 2 for years to come. Ironically it was left to Moore’s father figure, Anthony Griffiths to show his newest prodigy (we’ve all been there Tom!) how to catch as he managed to peer through the gloom and hold onto a catch off the bowling of Will Murray to dismiss the dangerous David Lye.
While all this was happening the Sidmouth mizzle had now set into the valley and showed little sign of lifting. As it got steadily heavier the officials were left with little option but to take the players from the field. An hour later, and with little sign of relenting, the handshakes signalled the end of the game.
Sidmouth only took one more point than their rivals (11 to 10) but can certainly take a lot of positives from the game as they look to continue to climb the table. Tricky trips to Heathcoat and North Devon now follow where nothing but a win will do if we are to hang on to the coat tails of the early league pace setters.