Plympton punished with 100 Lines
Skipper's biggest league score sets up comfortable home win in the sun
Following two away fixtures where poorer weather was experienced it was a relief for the 2nd XI to return to the azure blue skies and arid conditions of the valley. Returning from his holiday skipper Declan Lines had no hesitation choosing to bat first on what looked like a flat Whitehall special in the blazing sunshine.
The toss came after a bit of a trouncing for the oldies in the pre-match football. Missing the footballing prowess of Messrs Gingell's, Griffiths and Hewer from previous seasons the tables seem to have turned recently. There was no pity shown to the three Dads in the team ahead of Father's Day.
Despite losing Tom Moore early on Dec and Isaac Thomas were soon plundering the Plympton attack for runs on both sides of the wicket. The quick outfield maximising the reward for the pushes and nudges, with the beefier strikes racing away across the parched and glistening surface. Thomas was second man out for 36; his dismissal once again a total shock given the ease with which he was batting.
Plympton's bowlers were toiling in the valley heat, obviously not acclimatised given the huge change in conditions from their native Plym valley, where it was no doubt moist and cool when they departed on Saturday morning.
A total of well in excess of 300 looked likely for much of the innings. Saj Patidar (32) joined Lines and this pair added another half century partnership in good time. Son Jash Patidar (30) also enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Lines, who passed his century with ease and continued to plunder runs at an ever increasing rate. However, the lower middle order somewhat lost impetus once Lines was out for a dominant 132. Pre-match Dec had confided that he felt in good nick today. He wasn't wrong.
Ironically it was probably Dec's best struck shot of all that brought his eventual dismissal; it drew a fabulous boundary catch from the fielder, his heels a matter of inches from the rope.
Despite not capitalising completely in the last 10 overs the home side still made it to 290-9 at the end of their 45 over allocation. The tired Plympton side could finally get some shade and rehydrate at tea.
The Plympton innings started with a flurry of boundaries and the chase of this large total looked possible. Given county sides these days seem to be able to chase totals that are well over 300, you just don't know. However, as soon as Fionn Wardrop made a double break-through, followed by Toby Seldon clean bowling the main protagonist, the chase was effectively over before it had begun.
The main message from experienced player Saj Patidar to the young side after the game was that the team mustn't get bored when games are effectively over as a contest. Next season is the fledging season of an all-through Devon league, and with the promise of consistently more competitive games, it will be important that the side can maintain it's intensity for an entire game. Bowlers and fielders striving to take all 10 wickets as quickly as possible in games such as this, Saj suggests, will be good practice for the challenges that lie ahead.
All 10 wickets were taken here, in the end, a couple of overs from the end to ensure maximum bonus points with Plympton 132 runs short. It really was Lines' innings that was the difference. The wickets were spread around the assortment of 8 Sidmouth bowlers used on this occasion.
A post match swim was enjoyed by most of the team. The sight of Fee walking sedately across the hallowed turf, following (at a distance) seven excited youngsters who friskily ran on ahead, it looked like a Dad taking his offspring for a dip. All returned safely, but the young still had energy to burn.