Isaac catches out Torquay
Thomas's three catches lifts the fielding display in routine win over weakened visitors
Folk Festival week marks the week in the season where the 2nd XI find an alternative home venue to allow parking at the Fortfield. Woodbury CC played hosts again this year and everybody at the club is appreciative of their club's friendly welcome and use of their facilities.
With elected skipper Declan Lines promoted again to 1st XI duty it was stand-in skipper Nick Mansfield who called incorrectly at the toss and was asked to field first by the Torquay captain. With only 9 players it was a tough call for Torquay, but it remains questionable how a premier league club can't raise a 2nd XI. Perhaps the league could have a look at the rules again. Would a points deduction for the club's 1st XI focus clubs' minds on more people around a club trying to get full teams on to the field? At least they did fulfil the fixture.
As a competitive fixture it felt flat before it had started. Then, when a Torquay opener missed a straight ball from Toby Seldon in the very first over, effectively meaning they were already 3 wickets down, you wondered if this game would last more than a couple of hours. However, credit to the 9 players who did turn out for the visitors, they applied themselves well and made every effort to make a game of it.
On a very slow wicket all the Sidmouth bowlers struggled to offer penetration, and although the run rate was slow in the main, the batsmen had little difficulty in remaining at the crease. Braces of wickets for Toby Seldon, Charlie Dibble and Luke Raistrick, who bowled very steadily on his 2nd XI debut, chipped away at the Torquay batting. The only other wicket was taken by Wes Holmes in the final over of the innings, as Torquay posted a total of 112 in the full 45 overs.
Undoubted highlight of the innings was the catching of Isaac Thomas. He grabbed three chances of differing difficulty. The pick of the three was on the mid wicket boundary, taking a powerfully hit slog sweep off Raistrick at head height, whilst moving rapidly to his left.
In folk week it is also the chance for all the players, their partners and families to provide tea. It is usually a feast and this year didn't disappoint. There were at least three homemade cakes, plus scones and an assortment of other things, mostly high in calorific content. A few 'cake babies' were seen taking the field later.
The lovely views seen from the Woodbury ground also means it is exposed, and a chilly wind had been whipping around the pavilion all day. The spectators were wrapped up against the stiff breeze with blankets deployed on knees. The scorers were thankful to move to a corner of sunshine on the pavilion balcony in the 2nd half; Clive remarking it was the coldest he had ever been at a cricket game - and he has been to a few.
The Sidmouth response in chasing the small total was somewhat curious. Man of the match Isaac Thomas held the top order together and top scored with 45. Tom Moore was first wicket to fall, which brought Anthony Griffiths to the crease. Often involved in quick singles Griff has been involved in some run outs down the years. Usually a fine judge, the team often benefits from the scoreboard ticking along with Griff's ability to nudge and run. Here he 'barbecued' himself in spectacular style. A forward push to the off side was met with the familiar "yes, yes, yes" from Griff. Every spectator though inwardly "no, no, no" as the ball went straight to short extra cover. Although not a direct hit the bowler was able to remove the bails with Griff still well short of the crease.
With Anthony Dibble nursing a sprained ankle from pre-match football, Daley Holmes, Nick Mansfield and Fionn Wardrop were promoted up the order. When Isaac Thomas fell, once again agonisingly close to a landmark score, skipper Mansfield joined Holmes in the middle. Nick didn't last too long, adjudged leg before wicket, to a full straight ball which he missed. Often one to wear his heart on his sleeve, Nick seemed upset at the decision. Muttering, not particularly under his breath, Nick removed his helmet and threw it in front of him as he approached the boundary's edge. He then proceeded to kick it in front of him as he made his way up the slope to the pavilion. One final violent kick sent the headgear careering towards the spectators, and such was the force of the final strike, that the helmet disappeared up under Melody Holmes' blanket. The apology was immediate. Melody was unhurt and saw the funny side of it.
Holmes and Wardrop saw Sidmouth over the line. Another victory; with 18 points added to the season's impressive tally and unbeaten record maintained with 4 matches to go.
Thanks again to the multiple contributors to tea, Woodbury CC, Colstan and Clive, who is thawing out nicely.