Well, another season has flown by. In all honestly it has been a reasonable season for Stoke, improving in the Devon League, history makers in the Brockman Cup by making the final and friendlies has been a struggle, a few cancellations due to not raising sides which will however will be looked at over the off season.
Devon Cricket League D Division West
Another season in the Devon League for Stoke. The only major headline before the start was Tom Wills making the switch over from Kenn to represent Stoke for the upcoming season. It did however start on a bad note losing the first match and got well beaten in the end to Newton St Cyres on a flat wicket. Usman Manazir starring for the hosts with a hundred and Stoke with a middle order collapse couldn't even challenge anywhere near the total set of 256. Next fixture Stoke managed to overcome newcomers South Brent winning by 4 wickets. After a cancelled match vs Topsham due to the weather Stoke played Kenn on a beautiful sunny May afternoon. Kenn in the end being far too strong and won the game comfortably by 7 wickets. Then came a good spell for Stoke, beating Buckland Monachorum by 128 runs (Tom Wills starring with a 5 for), Exwick by 16 runs (Sreejith Shankar scoring a match winning 73) and a shock victory against Yelverton after being bowled out for 119 and Yelverton 105 for 4, some great fielding and bowling restricted Yelverton to 115 all out, some fightback that was from Stoke against a team alongside Ashburton and Shaldon fighting for Promotion. Then came along a bloke by the name of Ryan Bougard, signed from Premier Division side Bovey Tracey, absolutely destroyed all the 10 Stoke batsman's stumps bar a fighting top score of 8 not out by Tom Wills taking figures of 8.5-6-3-10. Shaldon in the end took 3.1 overs to knock them off and the match was over by 3pm. Despite another big defeat to Ashburton the following game Stoke's position was mid table, won a game more than the whole of last season, lost three and one cancelled. Hopefully Stoke can have a good strong finish to the second half of the season. It did indeed, winning a nervy contest against Newton St Cyres by 5 wickets in drizzly conditions (Skipper Mark Russell taking figures of 6 for 6 off 5.4 overs) and then followed up with a victory against South Brent by 166 runs. A maiden ton by Tom Wills and a handy 65 from Hugo Longrigg sharing a record partnership for any wicket in the Devon League for Stoke of 160 runs. After that came some disappointment, losing to Topsham by 3 wickets and Kenn by 9 wickets with Stoke having only 10 players. A 9 wicket victory over Buckland Monachorum was to be Stoke's last victory (Hugo Longrigg starring with the ball taking figures of 4 for 7). Defeat by 8 wickets to Exwick then a fighting loss to Yelverton with the weather being at times unplayable due to the rain, don't know why they're wasen't many stoppages in play who knows. Then Stoke couldn't raise a side against Shaldon handing them promotion, part of it probably didn't want to come up against Ryan Bougard again after the match at Netherton and then in the final match against Ashburton in damp conditions a certain Chris Prestt playing a pull shot got his left leg stuck in the wicket and rolled over on his knee. In the end the game got abandoned and Prestt was rushed to hospital. The result a ligament injury. So the final readings for Stoke which made promising readings was Played 18, Won 7, Lost 8, 1 Cancelled, 1 Forfeit, 44 Batting Points, 48 Bowling Points and finishing with a Grand Total of 159 points.
This was to be a History making Brockman Cup for Stoke. Reaching a first Final in the clubs 67 years. A not out half century by Danny Britcliffe and some excellent fielding and bowling resulted in a First Round victory versus Babbacombe. Next Round again some tight fielding and accurate bowling set up a 4 wicket win versus Torquay 3rd's. So onto the Semi-Final at Torquay vs South Devon. South Devon batted first and looked comfortable until a lower order collapse resulted in South Devon scoring 105 off 20 overs. After a nervy start, losing two early wickets, Danny Britcliffe and Mike Land steady the ship and in the end put on a match winning 87 to steer Stoke into their first Final ever. The big day came on the 1st July against current holders Abbotskerswell. In the end a bridge to far and some great bowling by a young Abbots side restricted Stoke to 97 all out and then skipper Charlie Mitchell knocking them off with an Unbeaten half century to keep the cup in Abbots hands but Stoke played their part and the whole team deserved a post match meal at Las Iguanas in Torquay.
It's been up and down for Stoke in the Friendlies this season. Unfortunately due to availability Stoke found some games tough to raise a side. In fact had to ask some players from other clubs to come in and make up the numbers i.e Jonathon Kirby from Erratics. Some positives, Andrew Thornton Clarke scoring the most runs in the season including a hundred against City Clerks. Some big partnerships, something which has been a rarety, a couple of biggies, the biggest one was again against City Clerks, an Opening stand of 190 between Andrew Thornton Clarke and Hugo Longrigg who then shared an Unbroken stand of 178 with Danny Britcliffe versus Tipton St John in which Danny scored 134 not out. In the Bowling department, few wickets taken but the main performance of note again versus Tipton St John was that Will Salmon took a maiden five for, been struggling lately against Tipton to take many wickets so it was a nice change and a surprise. The only dampner this season regarding friendlies have been the odd cancellation, both matches vs Harberton, Tedburn St Mary & Bridford due to not raising a side, a big shame having both matches cancelled against Harberton who we've been having some close matches over the years and maybe I'm wrong but it's a rarity to have both matches, fair enough if the weather plays a part but against a team you play regularly, home and away, every season it's a shame for it to occur this season gone and may need to be mentioned a lot at team meetings. Look to play more touring sides again and the odd Twenty over game Midweek.
Well that's all from me. Hope you like the review. Encouraging signs at Stoke and next season hope for a better one i.e Weather, not too many cancellations and some new faces.
Have a safe off season and see you all next year