AT the halfway point of the Devon Cricket League, with nine games now having been completed, Sandford Cricket Club proudly boasts two of its teams sitting at the top of their respective Divisions.

Last Saturday (July 1) saw the Firsts, at that time in second place, taking on the leaders Cornwood at Creedy Park. Having won the toss yet again, skipper Jackson Thompson asked the opposition to bat.

Things went well from the start. Cornwood’s dangerous overseas start Jay Bista quickly departing off a full toss with only 10 on the board in the second over.

Caught at mid-on by the skipper off of Jake Griffiths’ bowling. A little while later the skipper was at it again, this time trapping the other dangerous opener Max Finzel LBW.

With Devon youngster Ben Beaumont soon following, caught behind off Harrison Jones, Cornwood were in deep trouble at 51-3.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals and soon it was 132-6. Cornwood eventually recovered to finish their innings on 196 all out in the 47th over.

Young Sandford lad and Somerset Academy prospect James Theedom, opened the bowling and finished with 3-37 from 8.4 overs, supported by Jake Griffiths 2-29 (7) and Harrison Jones 2-19 (6).

In reply Sandford had a couple of early shocks as they slipped to 38-two, but then Dikshu Negi joined opener Dan Ward in a match winning partnership of 132 in quick time, before an unfortunate run out mix-up saw Wardy depart for a well earned 72 from 85 balls (10 fours), and in doing so gathered his first half century for Sandford – very timely.

Dikshu showed his ability with the bat with a masterclass 85 no from only 63 balls, including five sixes and seven fours, to guide his team to victory in only the 32nd over, but more importantly a massive 20 points to send Sandford nine points clear of Cornwood at the top of the Premier Division.

In the B Division, the Seconds made the long trip to Plymstock, a side we haven’t played very often in the past, not knowing what to expect.

They ended up playing on what appeared to be a minefield, very conducive to accurate bowling. Plymstock batted first and by the 26th over they had been bowled out for only 88.

Greg Lewis steamrollered the early order by taking the first six wickets and finishing with 6-32 from his nine overs.

He was well supported by his fellow opening bowler Brian Leach 0-30 off his nine, but apparently very unlucky – as he always is, so he says. Once they had left the Plymstock innings in tatters, having bowled out their allotted nine overs each, it was down to Tudor Morgan-Huggett 2-17 (four) and skipper for the day Shaun Hawkins 2-6 (3.5) to polish off the tail.

It was obvious batting was not going to be easy, but at 10-4 in reply, Sandford probably didn’t expect it to be that difficult. However, Rob Stoyle proved to be the glue the middle order needed, and he batted for the best part of 20 overs (56 balls) for a miserly 14, which helped the Sandford boys re-group.

This allowed skipper Shaun Hawkins to play a few shots - 23 from 47 balls - followed by the "in-form" Archie Osborne 26 no (34 balls including six fours) to help guide their side to victory by only two wickets in the end, but a well earned 17 points to push them back into mid-table in their division.

The Thirds made it three wins on the day, and in doing so maintain and strengthen their place at the top of H Division East. They travelled to play Devon Medics who were in second place.

The Medics had no answer to the pace of Finn Warren 2-8 from his five overs and Jack Prescott 3-22 (8). They were backed up by Jemima Vereker 3-15 from 7.5 overs and veteran skipper Matt Theedom 2-24 (7), as they skittled the home team out for only 102.

In response, Alex Stevens had the Sandford scoreboard ticking along nicely at the top of the order with another 53 (nine fours), supported by young Joe Hopkins with 24 no (two fours), and victory was duly achieved comfortably with only three wickets down. The 20 points gained now leaves Sandford Thirds 28 points clear at the top of H Division East. 

This weekend (Saturday) sees the Seconds at home to Bovey Tracey Seconds (12.30pm start), and the Thirds on the new home second pitch to Budleigh Salterton Thirds (1pm start). The Firsts travel to Paignton (12.30pm start). Best of luck to all sides.

Phil Matten