Plymouth Evening Herald, August 21, 1988
LITTLE Hatherleigh completed their astonishing rise* by winning the Frisco Devon Cup amidst scenes of understandable delight at Plymouth’s Peverell Park.
They sensationally knocked out cup holders Barton in a stirring match in the morning and coolly deflated Tavistock’s hopes in the final.
Tavvy skipper Stuart Munday was entitled to wonder how his batsmen’s semi-final brilliance would turn into a feeble final display, in which they were bowled out for 76. The collapse followed a useful effort in the field to restrict Hatherleigh to 117 for seven, a total which contained an infuriating mixture of the very good and the very bad.
Notably good were two brilliant catches at deep square leg by Keith Donohue, one held nonchalantly overhead and the other scooped off the ground tumbling forwards.
Alan Searle was not allowed to repeat the magnificent innings of 72 that won the match against Barton. Simon Crawford pegged away on off stump and Searle tamely chipped to mid-off.
Truly dreadful were missed run-out chances that reprieved Bill Harper, who had given up is wicket when Robin Wilson only had to lob his return to bowler Munday. Instead he threw the ball over Munday’s head and a disbelieving Harper realised he could regain his ground as Simon Crawford ran to retrieve, fumbled and returned awkwardly to his skipper.
Harper hit some thumping shots after enjoying a second let off when Adrian Towl hurled in a marvellous throw from deep mid-wicket only for wicketkeeper Kevin Rees to drop the ball. Munday finally ended Harper’s stay by running in from mid-off and holding a good, low catch.
Steve Luffman, who did some sterling leg work in the field, claimed a run-out with a direct hit from mid-off as Munday shouted: “Keep it, keep it.”
But the innings ended with more bad cricket with Munday dropping Bob Heaman at mid-off and the final ball yielding three with a silly overthrow.
Tavistock’s batting effort was an almost unmitigated disaster as Stuart Summers, Donohue and Rees all lost patience and saw their efforts to force the ball away through the off-side end in tame catches.
Luffman was the last hope of picking up the growing run rate but was bowled trying to run the ball into the covers.
By now everything hit in the air stuck for an inspired Hatherleigh and Tavvy’s rout was completed with Munday run-out without facing a ball.
Exeter 129-6 (Jerry Smith 52, G Wallen 28), Tavistock 130-5 (K Donohue 52no, S Luffman 31, C Wakeley 2-26). Tavistock bt Exeter by 5 wkts.
Hatherleigh 151-6 (A Searle 72, N S Rogers 31; C Davidson 2-25), Barton 144-7 (C Davidson 44). Hatherleigh bt Barton by 7 runs.
Hatherleigh 117-7 (A Searle 24, W Harper 20; S Crawford 2-23), Tavistock 76 (S Luffman 19; N Rogers 4-23, T Hubbard 2-7 R D Tidball 2-11). Hatherleigh bt Tavistock by 41 runs.
Editor’s note: *Journalist Walter Gammie’s comment about ‘Little Hatherleigh’s astonishing rise’ may seem patronising now but would have made sense to cricket fans back in 1988.
Hatherleigh joined what was then the Mod Dec Devon League in 1984 and finished runners-up in the D Division West, which only had one promotion place that summer.
After that the only way was up for Hatherleigh as they clinched three successive promotions to reach the top flight by 1988.
Hatherleigh’s third promotion was inspired by batsman Alan Searle and left-arm bowler Terry Hubbard. Searle scored 1,035 league runs and former Torquay and South Devon spinner Hubbard bagged 60 wickets at less than 14 runs each.
It was the most dramatic rise from bottom to top of any side that had come into the Devon League after its formation in 1972.
Braunton won back-to-back promotions in 1984 and 1985 to reach top-flight cricket, but Hatherleigh went one better with three in a row.