Different levels, same sport.
Words: Simon Travers
Match Photos: Ivor Thomas
I made it to Taunton on Friday for the first time this season to watch Somerset against Sussex.
Somerset were either awful or as constrained by the cricketing equation of winning = availability +
experience as any club team, depending on your viewpoint. I hadn’t realised until the team sheets
were read that Sussex were captained by Indian legend, Cheteshwar Pujara. What a brilliant
surprise. 6792 runs in 95 tests, and here he was at Taunton, leading an academy team and scoring
66, easy-flowing, class-drenched runs. It’s something particular to cricket among sports, isn’t it, how
everyone benefits when players of different levels have the opportunity to be on the same teams,
challenging and inspiring each other.
I thought of Pujara watching the wildness of the Ones four wicket loss in their visit to Paignton
unfold on Play Cricket. In the WWE, when you get deep into an encounter between two stars
working against each other, but also together, to execute ever more astonishing stunts, the fans
start the chant, ‘This is awesome!’ So let’s start with the obvious, Jay Bista vs Divyaansh Saxena. This
is awesome! Jay fired off another century, this time from the top rope, with a 151 from 114.
Divyaansh went toe to toe and responded with a powerbomb 172 from 122. Both of them are too
good, on a completely different level. Both of them are redefining the standards what can be
achieved in Devon cricket as they sit 24 (Jay) and 26 (Divyaansh) runs short of being the 3 rd and 4 th
batters to score 1000 runs in a Premier Division season in the Play-Cricket era. Again, this is
The line that can be drawn between Pujara, Bista and Saxena are fairly clear, but it can also be
drawn to the match’s other centurion, Ryan Rickard. Ryan’s 100 not out in 117 balls was a special
knock that would have been a match-winner on any other day. His seven boundaries in the last 6
overs pushed the Ones through the 300 barrier for the first time this century, finishing on 314-3. The
innings was a milestone one for Ryan. His first league century for the Ones, which also took him over
2000 senior league runs for his career and above 300 league runs in a season for the first time.
There is so much more to Ryan though than one innings. For parents, like me, watching our children
grow through the colts system, Ryan was one of the first people that we met at the club. On cold
Monday nights in Ivybridge sports hall, for the next generation of Cornwood players who are starting
to come through, Ryan was their Pujara. Twice as tall as their primary school selves, he gave his time
to coach, challenge and inspire. Ryan taught the basics, but also, by example, the fundamentals of
being part of Cornwood: all cricket, no nonsense, often quiet but fiercely competitive, always
investing and going above.
A quick word also for Ben Beaumont’s off-spin, which has been developing as a weapon throughout
the season. Recording his third 3 wicket haul of the Premier Division season, and his second in two
weeks, Ben’s figures of 10-1-55-3 were remarkable in the context of a run fest.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, league leaders Heathcoat’s chose a bad moment for an off day as
they lost at home to Hatherleigh by five wickets. Sandford’s win over Plymouth puts them top and sees Plymouth almost certainly relegated. Bradninch beat North Devon to jump to second in the
table. With 5 points separating Sandford, Bradninch and Heathcoat at the top, there’s a grandstand
finish coming in the last two weeks of the season.
Back at Oak Park, the swifts were out in force. Their wings beat faster than the human eye can see,
but then for moments, they stretch and glide silently. Saturday was a stretch and glide day at the
club, the swifts reminding that is part of the natural order of things. Captain Robin Dart repeatedly
reminded the Twos that all the pressure was on relegation threatened Paignton 2XI to get a result.
The visitors looked to flip that pressure by bowling out their opening seamers Sean Kirk and Jack
Harman. They both got rewards in the form of edges that left the Twos 46-3 at first drinks. Earlier
this year, that may have led to a procession, but the Twos batting ends the year solid. Aaron
Richards compiled a convincing 64 from 84, combining with Craig Harris (26) and an entertaining 42
from Mike Hodge for partnerships of 68 and 63 on the way to a total of 223-7.
With James Richardson at Paignton, and Andy Bees away, the Twos opened their bowling with
experience and youth in the form of Matt Tamsett and Harrison Hodge. Harrison was visibly nervous
facing a new challenge, but battled and settled to claim an early wicket. Nimble work from Finn
Torley got a stumping for Jack Brown for the second scalp. However, Rory Medlock (73) and Sam
Robbins (63 in 54) were able to handle the visitor’s pressure as they put on 116 for the third wicket.
That was enough for Paignton to reach their total with 6.1 overs to spare. Paignton are still in ninth
but there are 3 teams within 4 points of each other around the C Division West drop zone.
A win at Manadon Sports Centre against Plymouth Civil Service & Roborough 2XI would have done a
lot to ease the Fours own relegation concerns. Unfortunately, they came up 64 runs short against a
team still pushing for promotion. PCSR won the toss and batted, with captain Adrian Vickery (49) and
Matt Ball (57) leading the way to a total of 239/7. Opening the bowling, Anthony Goodwin and
Charlie Farmer kept things tight, while Max Daniels finished with figures of 3-52. Needing 6 an over,
the Fours innings imploded early, with four immediate wickets falling to the hosts. The youngsters in
the team then showed the way. Charlie Farmer dropped anchor for 2 hours making 40. Max Daniels
(36) and Anunt Dhulkotia (38) helped to provide enough momentum for the team to reach 175.
Those extra batting points mean that that fours are equal with Hatherleigh 3XI on 128 points. Stoke
Gabriel 2XI have 126. Two of those three teams will be relegated, but the Fours still have their
destiny in their hands.
Back at Delamore Park, wickets for the Threes took patience as they faced Stokeinteignhead. Anuj
Tiwari (57) and Hugo Longrigg (98) put on 126 for the first wicket. With their partnership broken, the
Threes forged a comeback with 3 wickets a piece for Chris Chaloner (7-0-53-3) and Anthony
Chapman (5-2-6-3) and 2 for Ollie Mitchell (4-0-25-2). Chasing a total of 207, Josh Wood and Sam
Griffiths (34) made 51 for the first wicket but their departure led to a rapid collapse to 84-7. The
Threes still had Charles Knight at the crease though. While his fantasy team are named the
Knightwatchmen, Charles picked his moment to slip into Bazball-era Knighthawk mode. With
support from Joe Davies and Alex Passman, Charles reached 81 from 67 with 10 fours and 3 sixes
before being caught just six runs short of the Stokeinteignhead total. A spectacular effort.
Next weekend, there are two massive dates for your diary. On Friday night, I’ll be your Quizmaster for the GREAT CLUB QUIZ NIGHT. You can still organise a team of up to 5 adults and ideally one under 16. However we’ve now decided that having an Under 16 in the team is not essential, teams can jut consist of four or five adults.
Team entry is £5, just send your team by email to firstname.lastname@example.org titling your email CCC Quiz Night.
If you would like to participate but don’t have a team just email and advise that you are coming and would be willing to join up with a team on the evening.
The second date is Saturday as the Ones play their last home game of the season against Bovey
Tracey. It’s a bank holiday weekend. Let’s try to get as many people at the club as possible to give
the boys a cheer as they near the end of an incredible season. Elsewhere, the Twos have a last road
trip to sunny Newton Abbot to play South Devon. The Threes play hosts at Delamore Park to
Yelverton 2XI and, once the Fours have found Bridestowe’s ground, they’ll be looking for a result
against their promotion chasing seconds.