Not fair at the Maer
Depleted 2nd team denied by the weather at Exmouth
One often wonders how much more popular cricket would be in a parallel world where there is no such thing as rain, or where it perhaps only fell in the night. It always been our great sport's curse that play is deemed impossible in poor weather, and with the Great British climate as it is, there are often frustrating games, like Saturday's, which can't be completed.
One third of the way through the season the 2nd XI have an unbeaten record, but with 2 abandoned games out of 6, the gaps in the table are not as great as may have been the case if all games had been played - many teams only having had one game abandoned. The gap is 14 points to Bovey Tracey in second place, who are also unbeaten and it is they alone who have had 3 games abandoned and most to complain about in terms of weather luck.
The team arrived at Exmouth with many familiar names missing, due to squad injuries and unavailability. This included skipper Dec Lines, who is sunning himself in warmer climes, so it was stand-in captain Saj Patidar who called correctly at the toss and decided to bowl first.
A new 2nd opening bowling partnership of Lee Clayden and Wesley Holmes made immediate and significant inroads to the Exmouth line-up. Wes made the first breakthrough; Lee followed up with the next 3 wickets. It was then the turn of the triumvirate of spinners, Daley Holmes, Toby Seldon and Charlie Dibble to make their way through the Exmouth middle and lower order, whose side included 2 ex-Sidmouth colts.
Some of the home side's shot selection was questionable in the circumstances, especially given that all the bowlers had some assistance from the conditions. The pitch offered turn for the spinners, seam movement and swing to the new ball bowlers and inconsistent bounce for all.
There was one piece of resistance from E Hurley (not Liz) who made an important half-century and allowed Exmouth to post a total of 121, which was larger than seemed likely for much of the innings, until he got his head down. It was down to Jash Patidar to clean bowl Hurley to bring the innings to a close with more than 3 overs unused. All Sidmouth bowlers used picked up at least 1 wicket. Saj Patidar, with his lovely soft hands, bagged 2 slip catches, whilst stand-in keeper Sam Adams took 2 catches behind the stumps.
If pitch conditions had remained unchanged after tea it was entirely possible that Sidmouth may have actually found this quite a challenging target. As it was, the rain arrived during the much debated (confusion about the cut-off time at the end of the first innings) tea interval, so we'll never know.
As both abandoned matches were (of course) away from home it is a relief to see the fixture list serve up the next two games in the valley; part of that parallel world, where the only risk is from over ebullient waves.