TO KICK off the Devon Cricket League season, Ashburton Cricket Club First XI hit the road to head away to Sandford Second XI.

Sandford were batting first and got off to a slow start thanks to Ashburton's opening bowlers. Steve Edmonds and Charlie Towers, while both being wicketless, kept the hosts’ run rate to below two runs an over throughout their spells. Edmonds reeled off five maidens to start the day and really set the tone for the rest of the innings.

Matt Coon (3 for 44) then took the first wicket of Jonathan James (24) to break the opening partnership. Vaibhav Sheth (4 for 38) then took his maiden Devon League wicket of Joe Hopkins (30) to remove the other Sandford opener. A couple more quick wickets from Matt Coon left Sandford 88-4.  

Wickets began falling at regular intervals but, with Sandford number three Praison Alias still in, the innings was not over just yet. With wickets at the other end falling and the pressure building for Sandford, Praison (47) was not able to take his team to a high total as he fell to the spin of Vaibhav Sheth. Chris Yeo (3 for 20) then mopped up the lower order to leave Sandford all out for only 139. 

In reply, Ashburton’s innings started by losing opener George Yabsley on the second ball. Steve Edmonds put on 41 runs with Vaibhav Sheth before getting out on 13. Vaibhav scored a run a ball for 56 before losing his wicket, leaving Ashburton 84 for 3. Captain Lloyd White (33 not out) and Matt Churchill (20 not out) went on to win the match for Ashburton with seven wickets remaining.  

After the game, skipper Lloyd White went on to say he was ‘delighted’ to get off the mark in the opener.

‘Our Bowling was absolutely superb,’ he said, ‘with Charlie and Steve setting the tone for the entire innings. Albeit, they were both wicketless, they challenged the batters in every over and Steve reeling off five maidens in a row, was a class way to start.

‘Matt Coon showed exactly why he was our leading wicket taker last year, and Bittu and Yoyo bowled with superb control. I thought we showed great composure with the bat to knock the runs off, and to see Bittu strike the ball so cleanly was fantastic.

‘A special mention to the Sandford grounds team who helped get the game on after a tricky April, and to their wider team for being brilliant hosts for the day.’

Ashburton open their home campaign in the C Division West on Saturday when they host Kingsbridge at Varwell Field.