Feniton frozen out in fiery furnace
Half way point in season reached with 9th straight victory for 2nd XI on hot and humid day
A large away support is fairly rare in 2nd XI cricket, but here the away following totalled 14. Usual relatives were supplemented by members of the 3rd XI who unfortunately didn't have a fixture. One other spectator had walked from the valley in around 4 hours. Dedicated support.
Coming away from the shore, the current heatwave was acutely felt in most parts of this village ground, which seemed to avoid even the slightest breeze out in the middle. The skipper reminded everyone of the importance of taking on fluids. The captain set an example on Friday evening by aiming for complete hydration at a rugby club private party. At the ground all spectators and awaiting batsmen gathered in clusters in the small areas of shade offered around the boundary's edge.
Having won the toss Sidmouth batted first on this scorcher of a day. Isaac Thomas (53) and 1st XI regular Matt Cooke (47) got the innings off to another strong start. Both rode their luck a little, but showed little respect to any deliveries that offered them indifferent line and length, punishing them with a cluster of boundaries. Isaac's prolific season continues. Matt's season has been a different story; so it was good to see him spend some valuable time in the middle and hopefully gain some confidence for the second half of the campaign.
Nick Gingell came to the crease at the fall of Cooke's wicket and scored quickly from the outset. His 69 proved to be top score for the away side, on a day where all members of the top 6 in the batting order made a score in excess of 30.
The wicket was extremely two paced during this encounter. Both sides deployed the slower ball bouncer to good affect and it proved a ball that was difficult to punish. It used to be called a long hop. Nick Mansfield wished he had connected with one such delivery. When Mum Tracey visited the ladies loo all was well in the world. On emerging from the rest room Tracey witnessed her son doubled up, seemingly in agony, with his batting partner Nick Gingell not showing the slightest concern. When men are struck in this area of the body it never fails to amuse the spectators. This was no exception. Gingell offered consolation by saying that it was very close to being LBW, such was the downward trajectory of the 'bouncer'. What the L stands for here would be left to the imagination.
Mansfield's 53 was supplemented by Byron Knowles' 34 and Anthony Griffiths' undefeated 31. A total of 316 was set, which given the pitch conditions appeared way above par, even after taking into account the modest boundary lengths and the lightning fast parched outfield.
The weather was playing tricks on the mind. A Feniton bowler attempted to start a 10th over, not permitted under league rules, as a maximum of 9 overs can be bowled by a single player. The Feniton umpire only had the bowler in question down for 6 overs until corrected by the diligent scorers. One sage noted it must be difficult as all players wear the same kit.
Each of the surrounding villages were temporarily spared their prime idiot during the second innings. The draw of cheap cider and World Cup coverage had encouraged all of them to congregate outside Feniton football club. The sign on the clubhouse wall advertised "Tools for Hire", which was probably the kindest description in light of the comments that were emanating from the inebriated gathering.
Opening bowlers Tom Simmons and Fionn Wardrop both took a brace of wickets as Sidmouth gained a complete stranglehold on the game. Simmons' first wicket courtesy of a juggling act by Nick Gingell at first slip. Wardrop's second wicket kept low and took out the off stump - about half way up, although the bowler liked to imagine it took the top of said stump.
The Feniton innings rather meandered after these breakthroughs. Opener Graham Tucker batted the whole innings for 81 and he enjoyed a partnership of 86 with his son Jack, who also made a half century. Feniton finished on 231 for 8, which although still well short of their target, was probably more than they should have been allowed to accumulate.
As ever the team is indebted to Clive and Colstan who carried out their duties with aplomb and dealt with the heat admirably.