Devon Lions – see caption below

Pictured above are the Devon Lions on the outfield at Sidmouth prior to facing the Warwickshire Bears: Back row, left to right): Tim Western (coach), Seb Ansley, Elliot Staddon, Joe Gore, Felix Watson-Smyth, Ed Smout-Cooper, Cole Harford; front: Reuben Stanley, Justin Wubbeling, Matt Skeemer, George Thompson, Taylor Ingham-Hill, Will Christophers


SKIPPER Matt Skeemer’s hard-crafted half-century was not quite enough to give Devon Lions victory over Warwickshire’s Academy side in a 50-over challenge match at Sidmouth.

The Lions have been playing the Bears for more than a decade and had only defeated them once going into this latest encounter.

Chasing Warwickshire’s total of 245 for eight – Dee Khan (91) and George Maddy (35) the main run getters – seemed just out of reach when Devon were 163 for six with 15 overs to go. Justin Wubbeling (41) was the top scorer at that point.

Skeemer and George Thompson (17) got down to the last five overs with the target down to 37 with three wickets in hand and at that stage the chase was on!

Losing Skeemer in the next over for 52 was a loss Devon could have done without and 15 to win from the last set of six with the last pair in proved too many as the Lions closed on 236 for nine

Tim Western, the Lions’ long-serving director of coaching, felt on this occasion it was a game that got away.

“On reflection it was a game that we should have won and not lost by nine runs,” said Western.

“That being said there were many positives to come out of the game and the team spirit was excellent.

“Warwickshire brought a young but talented team down to Sidmouth containing three contracted players. Their support team included former England player Darren Maddy, whose son George was playing.”

Western said the bowling unit was short on luck but high on economy and picked out Seb Ansley (2-19) and Will Christophers (2-23) as examples.

If there was a flaw it was among the batters, although he acknowledged Warwickshire’s rising stars bowled well under pressure.

“All of the batters made double-figures but we lost key wickets in the chase with Taylor Ingham-Hill (22), Justin Wubbeling (41) and Matt Skeemer (52) batting well but not pushing on,” said Western.

“We needed only a run a ball for the last 20 overs in the chase, so credit to Warwickshire’s young bowlers who executed their skills very well bowling with control and confidence.”

The Lions next match is against the Somerset Academy at Seaton in July 31.

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