It looks like runners-up for Sandford Cricket Club!
AT the beginning of August Sandford Cricket Club First XI were in a promising position to make a march on winning the Premier Division title.
The team had put a decent run of wins together and had stayed firmly in touch with leaders Tiverton Heathcoat and were so far ahead of third place that the race was down to two.
Frustratingly there then followed cancellations against Hatherleigh, bottom of the table, Paignton and most importantly Tiverton Heathcoat due to Covid and the possible winner-takes-all fixture was denied unless the League overturn their guidance and allow this fixture to be re-arranged.
Last weekend things got even worse as the Gods conspired through the weather and the vagaries of the "Duckworth Lewis System" to make Sandford’s push for the title almost impossible.
Both Tiverton and Sandford had rain affected matches but due to the state of the game at the time of the calculations Tiverton had their target increased from 3.8 runs an over to 4.3 runs an over whereas Sandford’s target was increased from 4.56 to 6.4!
I dare say I’ve lost a few readers by this stage and to be fair the Plymouth total of 228 would have been a challenging target even if the full innings had been played but there were no favours handed out by the rain.
In the end Tiverton’s game was abandoned which meant the game was void whereas Sandford went on to lose by 59 runs and with it the chance of glory.
Richard Hopwood took three for 43, and Trevor Anning two for 25, but the hosts kept scoring despite losing wickets.
In reply the best was a partnership of 81 between Richard Hopwood (41) and Lawrence Walker (39) but with skipper Richard Foan having to retire hurt on 0, there was little support in the all-out total of 132.
There was much better news for the Second XI who completed the double over Exeter to guarantee their place in the "C" Division next season.
This has been a learning curve for the side who at the beginning of the season may be feeling out of their depth.
Obviously selection issues can often hamper the continuity of a side and I pointed out earlier in the year that rain had robbed them of the opportunity of playing some of the weaker sides in the league.
Once again the second half of the season has shown more success and the reward is the latest crushing of Exeter by nine wickets.
I note from the scorebook that there were quite a few LBW decisions made on the afternoon which is not surprising as Phil Matten was making a rare appearance back in the middle!
If he was at Brian Leach’s end then I’m sure Brian will be making representations for Phil to be back all next season! Brian finished with three for 40 and was backed up with two for 15 from Ryan Glass and two for 20 from Ben Clement as Exeter were bowled out for 149.
Rain did affect this game too but any reduction in overs just reduces the total by the same run rate. The new target was 129 in 39 overs but Ryan Glass was obviously very thirsty as he showed a return to form by clubbing 69 not out and was joined by Tom Williams undefeated on 29 as they knocked off the runs in 21 overs!
Last game of the season for the Second XI is away to Clyst St George who are aiming to be promoted but at least there’s no pressure on the Sandford team.
We wish Shobrooke Park First XI the best for their final fixture as they travel to Exmouth, knowing that they probably need to win to stay up! It’s been good having the local derby back.
Saturday, August 28 - First XI v Cornwood - 12.30pm start.
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