Maer men face biggest test yet to Tolchards League Premiership title aspirations
PUBLISHED: 10:33 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:33 31 May 2018
Exmouth's Tolchards Devon League Premiership title credentials face their stiffest test so far on Saturday when they entertain Exeter (12.30pm), writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
Four games into the season Exmouth and Exeter are one and two in the Premier table with the Maer Grounders four points clear of the city slickers.
Exmouth ensured they remained top for another week with a 28-run win at Plymouth last time out.
Exmouth made 176 all out in the 49th of their 50 overs – Bob Dawson and Ben Twine both making half-centuries.
The restart was delayed after tea by bad weather – and when the covers came off messers Duckworth-Lewis said Plymouth needed 154 to win and had 37 overs to get the runs.
No Plymouth batter made more than 18 as the city side were all out for 125.
The only crumb of comfort for skipper Jon Varcoe was three of the four teams below his lost as well.
The odd ones out were Bovey Tracey, who won at Sandford to move off the bottom.
Sandy Allen (18), Richard Baggs (20) and Miles Lenygon (20) got Exmouth up to 75 for two, then a wobble set in as Matt Petherbridge (3-39) reduced them on his own to 89 for six.
Dawson and Twine put on 68 for the seventh wicket, but once they were separated by Faizan Riaz the rot set in.
Riaz (4-19) did all the damage as Exmouth lost their last four wickets for 19 runs scored.
Plymouth didn’t build big enough partnerships to have a collapse! Openers Varcoe (8) and James Burke put on 33, which no other pairing matched.
There were plenty of chip-ins – Dan Robotham (17), Sam Stein (14), Dan Moore (13) but nothing substantive to hang a chase on.
Twine, who has played for Sussex II and MCC Young Cricketers, capped a man-of-the-match performance with three wickets and there were three more for Andrew Buzza as Plymouth faded away.
It may look like a routine win, but Exmouth skipper Baggs said it was anything but.
“Our fight was magnificent - we would have lost that game last year,” said Baggs.
“The stand of 68 between Bob and Ben was massive and gave us a score and then we bowled and fielded with great focus.
“Sam Harris had two huge wickets, but credit to all bowlers.”
Peering into the future, Baggs said: “It is a big game next week but we are playing well and looking forward to it.”