DEVON Under-14s slumped to a 113-run defeat against Berkshire in their opening game in the ECB County Cup.
Berkshire amassed 296 for five in their 50 overs at North Maidenhead. Aaryan Patel (69), Alex Bovill (67) and Ben Salter (50) all making half centuries.
Ed Butler (2-17) was the only Devon bowler of the nine used to claim more than one wicket.
Devon were all out for 183 with more than 10 overs to go, no one making more than Lawrence Walker (38).
Nigel Ashplant, the team manager, said it was a disappointing start to the season, leavened by some individual highlights.
“Harry, Passenger, Jacob Kopparambil and Alex Holifield bowled well and Harry Passenger batted with maturity,” said Ashplant.
“Three batters – Jake Pascoe, Walker and Passenger – got in and could have gone on.
“On the other hand we bowled too many wides (31) and no-balls, our fielding was below its normal level and it was criminal not to bat our overs.
“We have faith in these players, and they have an opportunity to show what they can do we entertain Wiltshire on Sunday, at Abbotskerswell CC (11am).
Devon were invited to field first and there was an early breakthrough, as the impressive Butler (Filleigh) castled Berkshire opener Rhys Lewis with the total on one.
When Butler tempted Adil Mohammed into a false shot, and Teddy Haffenden (Plymouth) took the catch. 29-2 was a decent start.
Butler was forced from the field shortly after, with a thigh strain, and it was to be another 150 runs before Devon had their next success.
The Devon bowlers wrested a modicum of control between drinks breaks, with off spinner Passenger (Torquay) and leg-spinner Kopparambil (Ivybridge) the pick of the bowlers.
Holifield bowled aggressively to get rid of Patel, but with 10 overs to go the platform had been set with the score on 200 for three. The last 10 overs produced 96 runs as Berkshire reached
Devon’s plan was to follow the Berkshire example, get to 40 overs at around the 200 mark with wickets in hand, and have real go in the final 10 overs.
The top order started promisingly with Pascoe (Ashburton) and Whittaker putting on 45 for the first wicket, before Whittaker was bowled. Pascoe was joined by keeper Lawrence Walker (Ottery St Mary) and the pair added another 25, before Pascoe departed for a well-constructed 36.
Six wickets fell for the next 69 runs. Walker scored 38 as the middle order came and went. When Walker perished Passenger played a fine innings for 36 not out, but in vain as, the tail could not stay with him.
The format for this competition is simple: play the other eight counties once; at the end of the season the top five are guaranteed a place in the A Division of the U15 County Cup.
“A top-five finish is the initial target for this side,” said Ashplant.
Berkshire 296-5 (A Bovill 67, A Patel 69, B Salter 50no), Devon 183 (J Pascoe 36, L Walker 38, H Passenger 36no, E Butler 21; B Armstrong 4-25, H Ishaq 3-28). Berkshire bt Devon by 113 runs. Full scorecard