Room to im­prove as Devon start with a win

The Cricket Paper - - MINOR COUNTIES & WOMEN - By Sam Hawthorn

DEVON may have got off to a dream start in their Uni­corns KO Tro­phy cam­paign but skipper Josh Bess has warned against com­pla­cency as they gear up for a clash with Berk­shire on Sun­day.

Devon set south-west ri­vals Dorset a tar­get of 215 in their Group 1 opener, with captain Bess and debu­tant Alex Bar­row con­tribut­ing 53 and 63 re­spec­tively be­fore a late col­lapse saw them lose six wick­ets for 45 runs.

But a clin­i­cal per­for­mance from Devon bowlers Matthew Gold­ing (2-24), Bess (4-20) and the skipper’s cousin Do­minic Bess (3-30) saw them home.

“We were very pleased with the re­sult, one game into what is a tough group in a tough com­pe­ti­tion,” said Josh Bess.

“To get our first win under our belts is great with­out play­ing our best cricket. It is all about get­ting to play bet­ter cricket the fur­ther on the sea­son goes.

“It was a great pitch up at North Devon and I think that was re­flected in the scores. We got our­selves off to a good start and we were up to 170-4 be­fore we had a bit of a col­lapse.

“Do­minic (Bess) and Matthew Gold­ing pro­vided the key spell when they were bowl­ing at ei­ther end.

“Against Berk­shire next week, we have got to be con­fi­dent. You can­not get ahead of your­self in this com­pe­ti­tion so we have to take it one game at a time and hope we can avoid a sim­i­lar col­lapse.”

Else­where in Group 1, Ox­ford­shire and Corn­wall played out a thriller at Ban­bury with Corn­wall’s chase of 248 runs fall­ing just one short after 50 overs.

Ox­ford­shire bats­man Lloyd Sabin put his side in the driv­ing seat with an im­pres­sive 98 after opener Richard Kauf­man fell to Tommy Sturgess with the first ball of the match.

Corn­wall broth­ers Thomas and Matthew Rowe ral­lied for their side, stroking 82 and 61 runs re­spec­tively in their chase, but Sturgess and Scott Har­vey – who were in the mid­dle for the fi­nal over – could not add the runs re­quired to see Corn­wall home.

Berk­shire have to wait un­til Sun­day to get their KO Tro­phy cam­paign un­der­way and will host Devon at Hen­ley-on-Thames CC with Dorset host­ing Ox­ford­shire and Corn­wall en­joy­ing a week off.

In Group 2, last sea­son’s fi­nal­ists Stafford­shire mo­tored to an eight-wicket vic­tory over Shrop­shire with opener Kadeer Ali the star man, smash­ing an un­beaten 80 runs off 96 de­liv­er­ies at Shrews­bury.

And de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Here­ford­shire showed their ti­tle cre­den­tials with a nine-wicket de­mo­li­tion of Wales MC.

Chas­ing just 136 to win after a ruth­less bowl­ing dis­play from their at­tack, Here­ford­shire captain Matt Par­doe hit an un­beaten 61, in­clud­ing 11 bound­aries, to lead his side home.

In Group 3, Cam­bridgeshire chased down 348 runs set by Northum­ber­land at Saf­fron Walden with opener Asim Butt mo­tor­ing to 128 runs from 95 balls on a day where Joe Daw­born put the home side in the driv­ing seat.

Open­ing bowler Daw­born took 4-41 in his ten-over spell, dis­miss­ing open­ers Matthew Wha­ley and Adam Cragg as well as claim­ing Scott Steel for a golden duck.

And in Group 4, Hert­ford­shire chased down the 284 set by Suf­folk in their opener at North Mymms.

Suf­folk opener Jaik Mick­le­burgh hit an im­pres­sive 124 be­fore be­ing trapped lbw but their to­tal proved to be just short of what was re­quired as the hosts knocked the win­ning runs off the fi­nal de­liv­ery of the match to join Wilt­shire at the top of the group.

Wilt­shire chased down 265 runs to win in the fi­nal over against Buck­ing­hamshire, with opener Wes Durston’s 73 and Ja­cob Lin­tott’s un­beaten 57 from the no.8 spot the cru­cial knocks.

PIC­TURES: CricPix

All-round show: Josh Bess cel­e­brates tak­ing the wicket of Dorset’s Ji­gar Niak while he also made 53 with the bat

Class: For­mer Som­er­set man Alex Bar­row top scored for Devon as he made 63

Lead­ing the way: Staffs opener Kadeer Ali made 80

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