DEVON followed Cornwall out of the Minor Counties Trophy when they lost their rain-interrupted quarter-final against Wiltshire by five wickets.
Devon were still playing an hour after Cornwall had finished because of two breaks for rain.
At the second stoppage at 174 for three Wiltshire were fractionally ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis asking rate – one run ahead to be precise – but when play resumed Devon clawed back the deficit.
In a real ding-dong finish the asking rate crept up and up into nine and even ten an over territory with South African Jo Breet, who made 83 off 97 balls, just about keeping Wiltshire in the game
With six overs to go the target was 53 to win with seven wickets in hand. Despite losing Breet to a spectacular run-out from the boundary by Rob Woodman, Wiltshire got there with an over to spare.
Gary Chappell, Trevor Anning and skipper Chris Bradley all bowled costly overs as the chase heated up.
Bradley bowled the penultimate over defending 11 to win with 12 balls to go and despite getting Breet out Ash Morrison hit the next-but-one ball for six and that levelled the scores. The single to win it was a formality.
So, for the fourth year in a row, Devon bow out of the competition at the quarter-final stage.
Roger Newman, Devon’s director of cricket, was philosophical in his summing up of events at Corsham and said he had no blame labels to hand out.
“Having been put in to bat in less than ideal conditions, we did well to make 258 for nine and we were all pleased with that,” said Newman.
“I felt we batted better than they bowled for the first 20 overs and although we lost a few wickets in the middle we recovered well.
“Rob Holman and Rob Woodman got us off to a flier, then Josh Bess and Matthew Thompson batted particularly well to get us past 250.
“If you were going to be critical you would say we dropped three catches – the two openers and Breet – and that was costly.
“I am not going to criticise anyone. No one sets out to drop a catch and we were fielding and bowling with a bar or soap at the time.
“It is not my style to make excuses, but on this occasion it just wasn’t meant to be. It was a cracking game and with two overs to go we remained in with a chance to win it.”
Woodman (52) and Holman (39) gave Devon a 108-run start before wickets fell and Thompson joined Bess to regroup.
By the time Thompson was out with an over to go, Devon had moved from 148 for five to 247 for nine and he had scored 53 of them.
Wiltshire set off in hot pursuit, led by openers Ed Kilbee (73) and Jayden Levett (47) who capitalised on their let-offs to put on 96.
Middle-order impetus came from Breet and Henry Langford (31), whose stand of 71 for the fourth wicket made victory possible.