Brew-tea-ful Sidmouth urn victory
Tea room drama doesn't affect dominant display by Griifiths' men to secure second win
Attempting to gain a psychological advantage in sport through what could be construed as an inflammatory gesture is not uncommon. For example, a visiting side forcing Liverpool to attack the Kop in the first half, where they always traditionally like to do so in the second half. Famously Martin Johnson's English rugby team supposedly forced then-Irish president Mary McAleese to walk on the grass as she greeted them prior to a 2003 Six Nations match, having walked onto the pitch and deliberately taken the position the Irish always took, in front of the red carpet. In the seasonal first appearance at their valley home, Sidmouth 2nd XI were faced with a massive psychological hurdle. Imagine the impact caused by the visitors taking the home side's tea table? Did Clyst Hydon feel there was more clotted cream on the scones? Were the cucumber sandwiches fresher? Had the cranberries been spread more thinly on the away side's flapjacks? Was it purely designed to unsettle the hosts? There was emotional distress, yes. The expressions on the faces of the stalwarts as they entered the tearoom were pictures, trying to absorb the different feng shui. However, no matter the intended affect, there had been too much damage done in the first half of this C division encounter for the Sidmouth team to buckle under this duress at the tea interval.
Anthony Griffiths is generating a great team spirit through his excellent leadership in these early games. He observed that players were enjoying each other's success. A feature of last week's match at Whimple was how all members of the team, without exception, had contributed to the overall performance in that opening day win. Here it was the same. Having lost the toss Sidmouth were asked to bowl first. The entire bowling and fielding unit performed at a level above that of recent second elevens. The opening bowlers Fionn Wardop and Toby Seldon set the tone. They completed their nine over spells without conceding a single extra. Not one wide, which is a considerable achievement given the zero tolerance for anything delivered down the leg side under league rules. The Clyst Hydon openers were talented batsmen and played expertly, driving crisply, and running well between the wickets. At 60-0 you may have thought the visitors were well on top. However such was the discipline of the opening bowlers, and the tight rein kept on the run rate, that all the visiting batsmen seemed to be over-anxious to get the scoreboard moving once the Wardrop and Seldon spells ended. Whilst the other Sidmouth bowlers also bowled well; their wickets were to some extent the result of the pressure built by the opening pair's disciplined lines, and from the support of the other players in the field. Clyst Hydon subsided alarmingly to 110 all out, with the Charlie Dibble / Daley Holmes off spin partnership sharing eight wickets. Byron Knowles then polished off the tail with a quick-fire brace.
There were many great examples of top fielding on display in this game. Messrs Hurley, Holmes, Knowles, Thomas, Mansfield and Moore all demonstrating youthful exuberance and skill throughout. Two particular highlights to pick out though. Firstly, the expression on Toby Seldon's face as he grabbed a low chance at short third man, falling / diving forwards. Secondly, another masterful wicket keeping display in successive weeks. Tom Wainwright, on his return to the Fortfield after two decades away, maintained the extremely high standards of Cameron Grainger-Evans in the first week. Here, like in many others areas of the squad, the competition for places is pretty intense and no-one envies the selection committee in the coming weeks.
Undaunted by the tea time mind games Sidmouth's opening red-haired partnership of Nick Mansfield and Isaac Thomas set about chasing 'Nelson' for victory. Both made pleasing progress and both their dismissals came as a surprise. Their partnership of 70 was a good one. Regular readers of these reports will be familiar with Isaac's habit of falling just short of notable scoring landmarks. This was no exception as he fell to a beauty four short of a half century. It was left to skipper Griffiths and Knowles to ease the home side past their target and to a comfortable 8-wicket victory.
Excellent work from scorer Dwerryhouse and umpire Herbert once more. Thank you both. Colstan revealed after the game that a big birthday has just passed. All guesses were short of the mark. The Welsh water must be good for you.
Two matches down. Two victories. Two games played in great spirit. The all-through league is going well so far.
p.s. Clyst Hydon were most welcome to sit wherever they wanted and did so with complete innocence.