Words by Simon Travers
Match Photos by Ivor Thomas
Coming into the weekend, the weather dominated thoughts and tactics as a county wide band of heavy rain was forecast for around tea. The Ones and Twos had a shared double-header against Paignton. The Ones were back home at Oak Park after last week’s important win away at Hatherleigh. Both the Ones and Paignton Ones were among five Premier League teams that had won three and lost three. The Ones were able to welcome back overseas player, Jay Bista, and also Harry Woolway into a confident side.
Having won the toss and put Paignton in, the Ones knew that getting Paignton’s overseas player, Divyaansh Saxena, was key. Part of India’s Under 19 World Cup finalist team in 2020, with hundreds against Bradninch and Sidmouth this season, the left handed 21 year old from Mumbai is building a reputation. His innings against the Ones will further cement that as he crashed through the Cornwood attack scoring 162 in 114 balls with twenty 4s and seven 6s. Saxena scored 54 of an opening partnership of 69 and turbo charged a 4th wicket partnership with Cole Harford of 104 runs in 69 balls. Clean hitting and driving on a day when the other ten Paignton batters scored 113 between them, Saxena is the first Premier League player of the season to reach 400 runs.
Jay Bista was the pick of the bowlers for the Ones with 9-0-22-3 and a catch off Matthew Skeemer to remove Saxena. Elliott Staddon also took 3 wickets with figures of 6.5-0-54-3.
With a tough chase to match Paignton’s 288 in 50 overs, the Ones faced an immediate setback with two wickets lost in the first over. A third wicket partnership between Max Finzel and Elliott Staddon of 41 in 51 balls gave some momentum, but clearly, had the match been able to run its course, the Ones would have struggled to get home from 43-3. However, the forecast rain arrived pretty much on schedule, causing a first interruption.
Paignton hopes that the match could be completed were raised as the players came back with Cornwood still facing a stiff but reduced target. However, when Max Finzel’s wicket fell with the Ones on 103-5, the rain had the final word while Paignton were still 17 balls short of a legal game. The match abandoned and both teams scored 13 league points, to
leave them equal in the table on 87.
The Twos slipped into the time vortex at Queens Park in Paignton for the second half of the double-header. With grand old villas towering the ground, a well populated bowling green, steam trains shuddering by to Dartmouth and three hours of Elvis’ greatest hits pumped through a tannoy, every week is a 50’s themed week in Paignton.
The hosts won the toss and elected to bat on a friendly track with a lightning fast outfield. In an oddly democratic innings, all of Paignton’s batters, except their number 9 and 11, got a start and all of the Twos bowlers got a wicket. When James Richardson
found an edge for the last Paignton wicket with the penultimate ball of the allotted overs, a score of 221 was a large total that still left the game firmly in the balance.
Expecting match-ending rain at 6pm, the Twos started their response with a first target of reachingnat least 99 runs in 20 overs to be ahead on run rate should the game get to completion. Openers Ben Griffiths and returning captain Robin Dart made a confident start, cruising past the 20 over target together unbeaten to give the Twos the edge. The wind was whipping the bails off more often than the Paignton keeper, but at half past five, the promised drenching had not appeared. With the knowledge that the rain could come at any time, the run chase took on something of a quality from the Keanu Reeves movie Speed. The Twos had to keep the chase over a run rate of 4.92 at all times or the bus would blow up.
The combination of run rate and probable rain started to ratchet the pressure on the chase. Ben Griffiths was given LBW two short of 50 and Robin Dart was caught on 68 by a high quality catch at point from Rory Medlock off the bowling of Dan Wolf. The run rate dial stayed just above safety for most of the innings and at 190-3 with 7 overs left, the run rate on 5 exactly, and Matthew Butterworth (44) and Noah Carlisle (15) set, Cornwood looked in charge. Action movie carnage ensued. The Twos lost 6 wickets for 22 runs in the next five overs, leaving Josh Goodliffe and Andy Bees in the last chance saloon needing 10 runs from 2 overs. The rain finally rolled in on the last over as Josh, scoring 19* from 9, found the winning boundary that got the Twos off the bus three balls before it crashed and exploded into a jumbo jet.
The Threes had their first visit to Netherton Park at Stokeinteignhead interrupted, but not by the rain. Play was halted in the 16th over when one of Stokeinteignhead’s batters fell badly and badly dislocated a knee. Everyone at Cornwood wishes him a speedy recovery.
The Fours hosted Plymouth Civil Service & Roborough at Delamore Park. Choosing to bat first, the Fours were boosted by Barrie Fitzpatrick’s second fifty in two weeks. Reaching his landmark with a combination of pulls, cuts and swipes, Barrie went on to finish on 67 with 11 boundaries. The fours late order fired well to reach a total of 212-7. Barrie Fitzpatrick was also central to the positives around the Fours fielding performance, claiming a run out and an edged catch that registers the U13’s Sam Ford’s first adult wicket.
PCS&R were able to attack though and when the rain came, they only needed 16 more runs from 30 balls. They reached the target with an over to spare for a comfortable victory.
On Sunday, the Ones were back to go up against Bovey Tracey in the Sunbelt Rentals Devon T20 Quarter Final. Despite an incredible spell from Matt Skeemer, with figures of 4-0-17-5, Munir Kakar’s 60 from 41 balls propelled Bovey Tracey to a score of 162-8 in their 20. That proved too much for the Ones, despite a fighting 51 from 40 balls for Jay Bista. Wickets tumbled as the Ones reached 121-9 in reply.
The Ones are back at Bovey Tracey for a full league game next Saturday, while the Twos will be hoping to keep South Devon winless at Oak Park. The Threes have every chance of winning away at Yelverton, while the Fours host Bridestowe’s Seconds. On Sunday, the Women’s team travel to Sidbury and keep an eye out for the U13s as they have their ECB Devon U13s T20 finals day.