The Great Escape
Elliot Rice reports on all round excellence from Aviwe and a cracking Cheese course.
-Another glorious summers days greeted the rivals at the Fortfield on what promised to be a fantastic days cricket. As always, the pitch looked flat and had the makings of a real ‘run fest’ but despite losing the toss, Sidmouth's hopes were high.
Exmouth built a solid start as opener French (51) and Lenygon (48) batted fluently, albeit being aided by some lacklustre fielding from the home side. At 116 - 2 Exmouth looked well set for score in excess of 300 but Scott Barlow had other ideas as he removed the latter with a vicious short delivery. At this stage the game was in the balance but coupling some loose shots with disciplined bowling, Sidmouth were able to pick up wickets at vital times. However, the momentum changed in the ‘business end’ of the innings with some destructive batting from Lye (54) and Pollard (37) giving the away side a lift going into the tea break.
All credit to Sidmouth's bowling attack as they toiled away in the heat on a pitch that offered little to the fielding side, the pick of the bowlers being Aviwe Mgijima who collected impressive figures of 4 for 39.
Sidmouth set about chasing Exmouth’s competitive total of 263, but were not off to a good start as they lost both openers cheaply. The prolific Bess brothers Zak (31) and Luke (44) set about repairing the home sides poor start and looked solid until both were removed in the usual ‘caught’ manner as they looked to up the scoring. At the mid point, the visitors were well on top at and 263 looked a long way off at 112-4 with the required run rate creeping up more and more as time went on. Famously, Sidmouth are never beaten and this weeks ‘ace up the sleeve’ was overseas player Aviwe Mgijima. He struck the perfect balance of attack and defence and his cunning array sweep and reverse sweep shots helped the home side paddle their way closer to the target.
On the contrary, Exmouth's ever reliable bowling attack captalised on some nervy batting from Sidmouth’s lower order and as wickets tumbled from the other end, it became clear that we were in for a close finish.
The real drama of the afternoon unfolded as man-of-the-match Aviwe was clean bowled whilst playing an uncharacteristic hoick across the line, later making it aware to the umpires that it was a ‘no ball’ as Exmouth failed to meet the fielding requirements in the ring. A rare lapse in concentration from the Exmouth skipper. Ugly scenes unfolded which nether side will look back on fondly, but the correct decision was eventually reached by the Devon league umpires and the Mgijima masterclass continued.
Aside from this, at 200-8 Exmouth had their hands on Sidmouth's throats but enter underused batsman Charlie ‘Cheesy’ Miles. He was the ideal partner for Mgijima as he offered a water tight defence alongside a plethora of drives, cuts and ramps which had the spectators on the edges of their seats. The pair held their nerve and equalled a challenging required run rate all the way to the last over where Miles struck the winning runs with a Bradmanesque drive through ‘the posh side’. This was followed by jubilation from the balcany and ‘Dream Catch Me’ bellowed from the changing room. Mgijima finished with an unbeaten 104 and Miles with a career best of 18.
A fantastic team effort and roll on Sandford next week.
Commiserations to Exmouth who proved very formidable opponents and thanks, as always; to the scorers, umpires and ground staff.