Three wickets and a belligerent knock with the bat from Somerset’s Jamie Overton on Saturday helped propel Devon into the final of the Unicorns Minor Counties Trophy.
Playing in the semi-final against Cheshire at Sidmouth, Jamie blasted 35 off just 19 balls as Devon racked up an imposing 367-7 in their 50 overs.
Former Somerset batsman Rob Woodman opened for Devon and set the tone for the innings, making 118 off just 96 balls with 14 fours and three sixes. He shared a 180-run partnership for the second wicket with Matthew Thompson, whose 126 came off 136 balls and included 14 fours and a six. Devon skipper Joshua Bess also made a quick-fire 44 off just 23 balls, with three fours and four sixes.
Although Devon lost three wickets for 28 once Bess was out, Overton came to the middle and shared a 66-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Thompson. In all Jamie hit three fours and two sixes.
Cheshire lost wickets at regular intervals as they tried to keep up with the run rate; only opener Warren Goodwin, who made 73 managed to build a substantial innings.
Overton was responsible for dismissing two of three Cheshire players who made it into the 30s and preventing them from staging any kind of late challenge.
First he had Daniel Berry caught by Scott Barlow for 34, then he ran out James Williams for 4, before having Adam Sydall caught behind by wicket-keeper Sandy Allen for 11.
Finally he bowled Pat Roberts, the last man to offer any resistance, for 33 to finish with figures of 9.1-1-36-3.
Cheshire were all out for 231, with 10.5 of their scheduled overs still remaining.
Devon have resigned themselves to the fact that Jamie is unlikely to be available for the final against Oxfordshire at Wormsley on 27 August.
Devon captain Josh Bess told the official Devon cricket website: “Somerset are due to be involved in the Royal London One Day competition that week – and there is a second team game on the Wednesday when we are in the final,
“If Jamie isn’t in one squad he will be in the other and there appears little or no prospect of him playing for us.
“It goes without saying we will miss him as he is a quality fast bowler and handy with the bat.
“Jamie is a professional cricketer and brings that ethos with him into our game.
“But we are strong through the side and have plenty of depth to draw on to cover for Jamie.”
Commenting on Devon’s innings, Bess said: “Rob got there first and when he got out, Thommo kept going.
“The way the two of them went at it gave the guys coming in after them licence to have a go without worrying about losing their wickets.
“When you finish with 367 on the board it makes it hard from the start for the side batting second.
“Once they fall behind the asking rate, which was steep at seven and half an over from the start, there is no way back.”
Thompson was back in action again this week as skipper of the Devon Lions Development XI in a two-day friendly against Somerset 2nd XI at Taunton Deane. We’ll have a report on that match on The InCider later this week.
Meantime, Jamie has been released to play for Devon again in the Minor Counties Championship on Sunday 20 July when they start a three-day game against Wiltshire at Devizes. Somerset do not have a game during that period.
Devon v Cheshire scoreboard: