Belstone v Bideford
Belstone triumph by 74 runs in bottom of the table clash
Earlier this season Bideford had beaten Belstone at Westward Ho! by 66 runs; with the teams now occupying the bottom two places in Division One of the North Devon League, the return encounter at Rew Meadow was a must-win game in the struggle to avoid relegation. Bideford skipper Matt Shepherd won the toss and invited Belstone to bat on a greenish wicket still soft after the week’s rain. The home team got off to a disastrous start when Phil Woods was run out for a duck, beaten by a direct hit from cover fielder Jayson Bartolo. James Ewen soon followed leaving Phil Hatton and Sam Ewen needing to rebuild the innings carefully, against an accurate opening attack of Jamie Lathwell (8-2-28-0) and Shepherd (8-0-33-1). After ten overs the score was only 19 for two; after 20 overs they were still together with the total advancing to 88 for two. Ewen was out soon after, stumped by Ollie Hannam off Tom Brend for a patient 31, made in 66 minutes with 4 fours. Ryan Dennis joined Hatton as the pace picked up, with Brend conceding 69 off his eight overs. Hatton was next to go for a 101 minute 68, his highest innings for Belstone, which included 4 fours and 4 sixes. Matt Dennis joined his brother and both scored at a run-a minute as the score continued to accelerate before Josh Stephenson (3-0-24-2) got them both for 25 and 46 respectively. The icing on the cake came from a late cameo of 28 not out from Belstone debutant Jack Barkwell which pushed the score up to a season's best 229 for six at the end of the 40 overs.
Bideford started their reply confidently with Shepherd and Hannam striking the ball ominously well. They were soon way ahead of the equivalent Belstone score but three wickets for Harry Bushin changed the feel of the game – first he deceived Shepherd (24) with a slower ball, then Hannam (18) miscued a pull back to the bowler, and finally Bartolo (14) was bowled leg stump off his pad – pegging the visitors back to 71 for three after 14 overs. No 3 Tom Brend settled in to keep one end secure but wickets fell regularly at the other end with Sam Ewen (8-2-25-3) accounting for the middle order. Brend was eventually eighth out for 48, made in 87 minutes with 3 fours and 2 sixes, and with his dismissal to Douglas Little (4-0-16-2) went Bideford’s hopes of victory. It was left to Matt Dennis (2.5-0-7-2) to round things off with a slow full toss which Paul Argyle (more usually seen umpiring League games) missed, giving Belstone a 74 run victory and 20 points towards First Division security.