Devon give stars fright

PUBLISHED: 15:57 29 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:34 10 June 2010

CONRAD SUTCLIFFE AT OTTERMOUTH: DEVON gave Somerset a run for their money in Bank Holiday Monday s Twenty20 challenge match at Budleigh Salterton before going down to a two-run defeat.

CONRAD SUTCLIFFE AT OTTERMOUTH: DEVON gave Somerset a run for their money in Bank Holiday Monday's Twenty20 challenge match at Budleigh Salterton before going down to a two-run defeat.

Devon have played enough of these games over the years - this one was sponsored by Budleigh chairman Malcolm Baker through his Heathfield-based catering firm - to know what the ground rules are.

Somerset rack up 220 or more, the professionals flog the bowling to all parts of the ground and out of it, then Devon roll over tamely and lose by a hundred runs or so.

The script must have been lost at Ottermouth as that wasn't how this game went at all.

Somerset had to work hard to make 145 for eight - former England opener Marcus Trescothick top scoring on 38 - then Devon made a real effort on the chase.

The target came down in leaps and bounds in the last five overs - 32 off four, 21 off three, 15 off two, until it was nine to win from the last over bowled by Steffan Jones.

Any Devon League player would fancy that on at Saturday afternoon, but in front of an 800-plus crowd on a sunny Bank Holiday the pressures are slightly different.

Jones came up with the goods and four to win off the last ball with a new man on strike proved just too much for gallant Devon. It was a cracking finish to a cracking game though which swelled the Devon youth coffers by several thousand pounds.

The early demise of opener Carl Gazzard, who walked past a straight ball from Trevor Anning, focused a few Somerset minds as they took it nice an easy for the first 10 overs.

Trescothick was caution epitomised as he had 16 to his name in ones and twos before launching Rob Newman for six over mid-wicket.


Peter Trego and Ian Blackwell came and went before Trescothick misjudged Andy Procter's slower ball and was fourth out on 84 with seven overs to go. Only then did Somerset start to raise the tempo.

Wes Durston belted a bright and breezy 33, then Jamie Hildreth assaulted the Devon bowling to make 30 not out from 16 balls. Hildreth hammered three sixes, one of which left an expensive dent in the roof of a parked Toyota behind the poplar trees at deep mid-wicket.

Bowling is secondary to batting in Twenty20, but Devon pacer Anning deserves a pat on the back for his three in a row - Gazzard, Trego and Blackwell - at a gross cost of 17 runs. Procter had three for 46 when the slog was on.

James Hudson's four overs for 21 runs deserves a plaudit, as does the return catch to remove Durston. To be fair to both parties, Hudson risked being disembowelled if he didn't catch it, Durston had hit it hard, so there was an element of self-preservation.

Devon got just the start they didn't want when opener Rob Holman was out for a duck, Trego persuading umpire Matten to raise a finger, but they fought back through Budleigh's Sandy Allen and David Lye as 55 went up for the second wicket.

Allen (36) was rough on Trego, who was pulled from the attack after going for four fours in his third over, and played a full range of drives and dabs before holing out to Blackwell.

Lye kept going to make 29 and hastened Blackwell's removal with a couple of big hits. When Lye went Devon wobbled briefly, dipping from 72 for three to 74 for five as Omari Banks (2-30) and Arul Suppiah spun through them.

Budleigh's Steve Spoljaric and Josh Bess put Devon right back in the game with a stand of 57 that took them within touching distance of victory.

Bess (27) had his middle stump pinged back by Jones with 15 needed, but Budleigh's Newman shuttled between the wickets as Spoljaric kept whittling away.

Nine to win off the last over was gettable until Jones fed Spoljaric a single, got Newman on strike and knocked his middle pole out of the ground with one ball to go. Anning had to hit four to win and could only manage two.

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