Dec - land of the invincible hunters
2nd XI skipper leads from front as team secures final victory in unbeaten season
The sun was shining in the valley and all was well with the world. Skipper Dec Lines, due to morning work commitments, was back in the 2nd XI team leading his troops. Winning the toss he elected to bat first in the final league game of 2017. With the title already secured the main question on everyone's lips was whether this side could go the whole season unbeaten, a feat, that despite enduring success over a long period, most observers didn't think this side had previously achieved.
Dec opened with Isaac Thomas and set off at a quick pace, scoring freely to both sides of the wicket. Isaac is no slouch when it comes to run rates, but he was able to lean back on his bat and watch with admiration as Dec took the Plymouth attack apart. Dec dominated the partnership as the total went past 50 and then 100. A total somewhere approaching 400 looked possible at one point. Plymouth's attack kept going though and managed to rein in the runs at different stages of the innings. Isaac fell first, in the forties for the umpteenth time this season. Nick Mansfield fell cheaply bringing Anthony Griffiths to the crease.
Dec passed his century with aplomb and continued to accumulate his runs with ease, although his shot making was becoming overly ambitious at times. He was next out for a brilliant 141. You would have been forgiven for thinking he had been dismissed for a single figure score, such was the lack of celebration as he left the arena. Maybe he had his sights set on a double hundred, which is rarely achieved in club cricket.
Griff set about milking the visitors' attack for more runs as he bagged himself another unbeaten half century at the back end of the innings. A nice cameo from Daley Holmes helped bring the total up to 289 at the close of innings. Shame that Dad Rodney missed his son's innings, but he was busy scoring the winner for his beloved Exeter City.
The balcony had at times been suspiciously quiet at times during the Sidmouth innings, and the reason became apparent towards the end of proceedings. Several of the younger members of the side had detected an attractive tennis player on the adjacent courts. The polite way of describing the recipient of the leering, is I believe 'yummy mummy'. The home changing room overlooks the court and the hormone filled 'hunters' had found an ideal place to spy on events. For those who can remember the infamous Athena poster of the 80s, I think this tennis player had the same affect on this group of youngsters as that poster had on a previous generation. Amusingly, it seems the 'peepee' spotted the 'peepers' in the steamed up window. Giggling and pink the hunters returned to the balcony.
Post tea the bowlers took over. The lack of pace in the Sidmouth attack has caused opposition batting line-ups problems all season. With no pace to work with, batters have to create all the speed on the ball themselves. Fionn Wardrop was the sole seamer in the first six bowlers used, and by his own admission, he is not tear away quick. Fee grabbed two wickets. The five different spinners then twirled away. Only Daley Holmes (2) and Charlie Dibble (4) came away with wickets, but all bowled well and exerted pressure on the batting line-up which was to fall well short of its intended target. With one Plymouth batsmen unable to come out due to a pulled fetlock, it was left to Dec Lines to come on from the Belmont end and grab the final wicket of the 2nd XI league era.
The end of the season is an appropriate point to thank you to all the people who make this such a wonderful club. To Colin Whitehall for his excellent groundsmanship. To Nick Mansfield for his work assisting Colin, for being vice captain and taking over captaincy on several occasions. To Declan for captaining the 2nd XI. To Fionn Wardrop, the cricket section Chairman and fellow members of the club's cricket and general committees. To Julie Clayden and Gill Hodge for their respective bar and tea work. From this team's perspective I think greatest thanks go to Colston Herbert and Clive Dwerryhouse for their brilliant umpiring and scoring. Barely missing a game they give up all their summer Saturdays to voluntarily officiate our games. Colston has literally risked life and limb in the cause of duty. After last week's head injury a powerful straight drive from his fellow umpire's son hit Colston on the forearm as he took evasive action. Another sore one - but he saw the funny side of it ..... eventually.