Room to improve as Devon start with a win
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.
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