MATCH day five took the boys to Oldlands CC on Sunday July 1 to play regional powerhouses Gloucestershire, writes Martin Brice
Gloucestershire have beaten all their opponents comprehensively this season, with a average batting team total in excess of 250! This was going to be a tough match against a team clearly at the 'top of their game'. Team goal for the day was to raise our performance level and see how far we push them.
Devon captain, Matthew Whalley called correctly and duly asked Gloucestershire to bat first. This decision allowed the boys to get into the game after the past two matches have seen below par batting performances first up.
Gloucestershire came hard at Devon early on and raced to 45 in the seventh over before Whalley took the first wicket.
The rate slowed as Freddie Wolfgang and Henry Hassell bowled good lines and lengths to leave Gloucestershire 62-1 at the first drinks break (13 overs).
The lull in scoring continued until the 17th over when the batsman, especially Arthur Trotman (71) upped the rate with regular boundaries and strike rotation.
Devon finally took their second wicket, a smart run out by Rory Oram-Evenett, in the 25th over with the score on 126. This became 142 at the second drinks break (28 overs) when Henry Hassell (2-19) claimed his first of two wickets.
Heardy fired the lads up with some sound advice on bowling and fielding for the last 12 overs and set them a target of restricting Gloucestershire to 200. The bowlers stuck to their task, especially Henry Squire (3-30), but were let down by some indifferent ground fielding.
Gloucestershire posted 221-9 in their 40 overs. A pretty decent result for Devon as that was their lowest total of the season!.
The question now was could Devon's recent early order batting woes be banished and the team make a good reply? Unfortunately the answer was no. The top order struggled against a very good opening bowling pair and then two quality spinners that had everybody impressed. At the first drinks break (14 overs), Devon had fallen to 25 for five and things looked bleak.
Devon continued to struggle against a very disciplined bowling unit for the remainder of the innings and were finally dismissed for 80 in 32nd over. It wasn't all doom and gloom though as Henry Squire (20) and Henry Hassell (17no) showed what could be achieved with patience, good shot selection and determination.
It never nice to lose by such a big margin, but Devon showed glimpses of improvements in both ability and game toughness to please the Coaching team.
A small mention for Heardy who drew the short straw and had to Umpire. However his enjoyment at this may have lead to him getting carried away as his boast in the car on the way home was "well we might have got beaten heavily, but at least I got a 5-fer!. ". He was duly rebuked by me and reminded that "his role was support the development to players, not overly enjoy giving them out".
Devon's man of the match was a close thing between the two Henry's, but Henry Squire got the nod with the all-round display.
Next up for Devon is Cornwall at St Just CC on Sunday July 8.