Tight game between North Devon’s services decided in final over

Firefighters from North Devon got the better of North Devon Police on the cricket field in a closely contested match at Braunton.

The Police won the toss and decided to bowl but may have regretted that decision when the Fire Service scored 135 in their 20 overs, the bulk of the runs coming from Mark Creek of Ilfracombe Fire Station who retired on 30 not out and Terry Reynolds of Hatherleigh with 31 not out. Neil Blackburn of Bideford cracked 17 not out from nine deliveries.

After losing a couple of early wickets, the Police made good progress with Rob Tucker making 19 runs and Eamon Rodgers 17. Firefighter Terry Reynolds looked like a man 30 years his junior as he made two swift run-outs, neatly taken by wicket keeper Billy Blackburn. Jamie Hobbs of Torrington Fire Station took two key wickets and the game was finely in the balance.

The Police needed nine from the last over to take the spoils but were nine wickets down by that stage. After a resilient performance, Tom Holmes (30) fell LBW to the second ball of the over to leave the police all out on 129, six runs behind the Fire and Rescue Service Total.

After the match, Fire Service Group Commander Neil Blackburn said: “I would love to say that the result was immaterial, but actually it was great to win after being on the losing side last time.

“In truth though, the real benefit is the opportunity to relax and socialise with our friends from other services with whom we often work alongside in challenging situations.”

Inspector Tom Holmes said: “What a fantastic evening. We always get well looked after at Braunton Cricket club which provides the perfect setting for a social game.

“We all had a great time and enjoyed the cricket played in a really good spirit. It’s great to meet our emergency service colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere, but not so great to get beaten!”