COUNTY skipper Mike Coles says Wiltshire’s hard yards in the field are paying off after their perfect start to the new season continued at Instow on Sunday.
Wiltshire made it three wins from three by beating hosts Devon on their own turf for the first time in 21 years in their first competitive outing of the summer.
After going winless throughout a tough 2013 campaign, victories over Dorset and Berkshire in their warm-up contests have put smiles back on faces and Coles reckons his side’s fielding has proved a key early factor.
“The commitment in the field from everyone has been fantastic,’’ he said.
“You always take pride in being a decent fielding outfit, it’s the one thing you can always be up with and the boys have really been putting their bodies on the line.
“It’s just really nice to see everybody enjoying their cricket.
“Henry Langford drove down from Herefordshire to where we were staying in Barnstaple and even though he was injured and had to go 12th man, he joined in the celebrations afterwards.”
The three-run triumph was the perfect start to the county’s Unicorns Knockout Cup campaign, ending their winless run at their rivals which stretched back to 1993.
With rain likely and the possibility that the Duckworth Lewis method would decide the result, Devon won the toss at Instow and asked Wiltshire to bat.
The visitors scored 234-9 in their 50 overs as Tom Morton made 62, Joe Breet 34, Coles 47 and Adam Miles 24.
For Devon, Trevor Anning took 2-60, James Burke 2-65 and Scott Barlow 2-38.
In reply, Devon ended their innings on 231-6.
Liam Lewis anchored the innings with 86, Josh Bess adding 33 and Rhys Davies 23 not out. Jake Roberts took 2-51.
Wiltshire were well on top after 35 overs with Devon on 117-4.
The middle overs were dominated by Coles with 1-29 and Tom Foley 1-30 but Wiltshire nearly paid the price for only having four specialist bowlers, their two part-time bowlers going for 76 off their 10 overs.
But when Roberts took two wickets in the 46th over the tide turned in Wiltshire’s favour.
Wiltshire’s next match in the cup is against Cornwall at Corsham on Sunday, May 11, starting at 11am.
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