Sidmouth captain Will Murray said the 14-run defeat at Bradninch confirmed his suspicions that retaining the Premier title will be a tall order.
The three times champions were struggling at 102 for nine chasing 177 to win at Bradninch, but got within touching distance of the target thanks to a last-wicket stand off 60 between Matt Cooke and Miles Dalton.
“Matt and Miles almost took us to an unlikely victory, which only goes to show the depth of batting we have in the side. I would not say I am devastated to lose, but the way we lost cemented in my mind how difficult it will be to retain the title this year. We were chasing 20 or 30 more than I would have liked, but had we batted better early on that would not have been a problem.
Sean Nowak bowled a lively opening spell for Bradninch and we didn’t deal with him very well at all. It is one game out of 18 and there is plenty of time to get it back. We need to show against Heathcoat this Saturday what we can really do.”
Robert Cater’s 68 was the rock-like innings the Bradninch total of 176 all out was constructed around. Cater – strong in front of the wicket – hit 12 fours and a six before Dalton snared him lbw. James Street, Joe Webb and Ross Acton all got started then got out. Pick of the bowlers for Sidmouth was Murray with four for 42.
Sidmouth started poorly in reply by losing Josh Bess to Nowak in the second over. Their problems were exacerbated when surviving opener Anthony Griffiths left a delivery from Paul Nott and watched in horror as it bowled him!
When Nick Gingell (28) arrived Sidmouth were 50 for four and chasing the game. Bradninch kept the pressure on with some tidy bowling and sharp fielding, emphasised by Louis Storm’s diving catch at point to send back Murray. When Will Gater, Jamie Wardop and Murray all went for just 11 runs added, it didn’t seem likely the last pair would hang around long.
Cooke’s 42 and Dalton’s 27 not out meant a few anxious moments in the home camp before Nott returned to prise out Cooke.
Bradninch (19 points) 176 ao (R. Cater 68; N. Hancock 3-44, W. Murray 4-24) beat
Sidmouth (8 points) 162 ao (M. Cooke 42; S. Nowak 3-49, W. Squire 3-36) by 14 runs.
Devon Cricket League Premier Division Table
|1||Heathcoat 1st XI||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||10||5||5||0||20|
|1||North Devon 1st XI||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||10||5||5||0||20|
|1||Plymouth 1st XI||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||10||5||5||0||20|
|4||Bradninch 1st XI||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||10||4||5||0||19|
|5||Exmouth 1st XI||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||6||4||3||0||13|
|6||Bovey Tracey 1st XI||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||2||3||4||0||9|
|7||Sidmouth 1st XI||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||5||0||8|
|8||Paignton 1st XI||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||2||0||5|
|9||Plympton 1st XI||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||4||0||5|
|10||Budleigh Salterton 1st XI||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||1||0||3|