Devon are back to winning ways and remain mid-table
DEVON returned to winning ways at the expense of their cross-Tamar rivals Cornwall in the premier division of the British Inter County Championships, a result which keeps them in fifth place, just two points behind fourth-placed Glamorgan.
The ladies’ B side laid the foundations with a 5-1 success, inspired by a 3-1 victory from lady-of-the-match Anna Johnson (20.96) in the opening set.
Sarah Brown (16.41) and Cat Callard (13.49) both won 3-1 while Hayley Brant (18.33) and Michelle Andrews (15.99) came through without dropping a leg.
But that advantage was soon wiped out when the Men’s B side had a meltdown and lost the opening five sets of their fixture.
Danny Bull (25.27) halted the slide with a confident victory followed by John Burton (26.54) who also won 4-1, with his best legs being won in 13 and 15 to edge Devon in front at 7-6.
Only Kevin Burns (26.34) and Dave Lake (23.81) were successful from the last five sets but despite, an 8-4 win for Cornwall, the teams were all square at 9-9 overnight.
Lisa Hughes (20.79) put the first point on the board for Devon at the start of the Ladies’ A fixture on the Sunday and Maria O’Brien (25.05) followed with a lady-of-the-match performance when winning 3-0 in 21, 18 and 21.
Cornwall took the next two, only for Karen Matthews (17.27) and Chrissie Kinnaird (19.09) to both win 3-2, Kinnaird coming back from a 2-0 deficit.
That 4-2 success put Devon 13-11 up and it was a race now to the match-winning mark of 19.
The Men’s A side did not have the best of starts and only Lee Hellings (23.14) was a home winner after the first four matches were played.
Mark Shears (28.55) (pictured) began the revival with a man-of-the-match performance which brought a 4-2 victory in 16, 17, 21 and 16 followed by an equally good performance from Paul Milford (27.97) who emerged a 4-1 winner in 17, 21, 17 and 16.
Those two points put Devon back in the driving seat at 16-14 but the scoreline became 17-17 when Cornwall won two of the next three with only Neil White (23.36) delivering for the hosts.
It was getting close to crunch time now but Devon made sure of at least a draw when Mike Pearce (25.06) steadied the ship to win 4-2 before newly selected England international John Mann (27.40) got the all-important 19th point when winning 4-2 in 18, 13, 20 and 19.
Cornwall had the last shout, but Devon had come through a very close encounter to win 19-17 and consolidate their mid-table position.
Devon have arguably their hardest fixture of the campaign next when they travel to Yorkshire over the weekend of February 21/March 1.