WATCHED by a crowd of more than 200, Uplyme and Lyme Regis crowned a glorious covid-affected season with a convincing nine-wicket victory over Plymouth CS to win the Devon Mini-League Tier 5 final.
It was the biggest crowd ever seen for a cricket match at the King George V playing field and brought to a close a season in which Uplyme – formed in 1886 but which nearly went out of existence two years ago – have produced the most exciting cricket seen in the club’s long history.
Uplyme made their way to the East E 3 (Tier 5) final by winning all six of their division games and then beating Feniton in the semi-final – and along the way Tyler Wellman set up a record, unknown in recreational cricketing circles, by hitting three consecutive centuries.
Plymouth CS, who won their place in the final by winning the West Tier 5 division, won the toss and elected to bat. Uplyme signaled their intentions with a blistering first over from Tyler Wellman, six dot balls and a possible slip catch and good lbw shout.
The Plymouth openers weathered the early storm and had 38 runs on the scoreboard before skipper Steve Batey claimed the first of four wickets. Alfie Jacques took a lightening stumping off Sam Wooster’s bowling and before long the visitors looked decidedly shaky at 55 for 5.
They were finally bowled out, with eight of their 40 overs in hand, for 110, a total which was never going to be enough for Uplyme’s strong batting line-up.
Batey ended up taking 4-18 off eight overs, a match-winning performance, with good support from all his bowlers, especially Sam Wooster who finished with figures of 3 for 28. It was, perhaps, fitting, that the youngest player on the pitch, 16-year-old Jacob Maltby, took the last wicket in the only over he bowled.
Whilst they played some attractive shots, the only two batsmen to put up and real resistance to Uplyme’s dangerous attack were Smith (30) and Hussein (21).
In the semi-final at Feniton Steve Batey scored a faultless 101 to win the game and so, in Uplyme’s reply, it was a big surprise when he holed out with only one on the board. Brother Mark then joined opener Alfie Jacques, who was in sparkling form, and between them they steered the home team to victory with 23 overs to spare.
Jacques gave an impressive demonstration of stroke play and carried his bat for 97 whilst Mark Batey was the perfect partner with a very supportive 24 not out.
Uplyme celebrated their final victory in style with their annual presentation night in a marquee erected next to the pavilion in the evening, one of the highlights being the presentation of a silver salver to Tyler Wellman for his unbelievable achievement of scoring three consecutive centuries in the league games.
It has certainly been a season to remember for Uplyme’s players and spectators, not jut for their cricketing exploits but also for the spirit they have fashioned off the field of play.
It augurs well for next season whatever format that will bring. I spoke to skipper Steve Batey, the driving force behind Uplyme’s rejuvenation after the game, and the club has some exciting innovations they hope to introduce next season.
High on his list of ambitions is to see Uplyme playing at a higher level in the Devon Cricket League. If the quality of their cricket this season is any indicator, that’s a given.