172 from the Somerset man sets up North Devon win at Bradninch

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NORTH Devon’s stand-in captain Rob Ayre said the 38-run win over Bradninch was harder work than it looked on paper.

Somerset’s Craig Overton hit 172 and Dan Bowser showed he is fit again after injury with 58 in a North Devon total of 318 for eight.

There were three wickets for Dan Hardy and two each for Jackson Thompson and Chris Acton.

Hardy top scored with 88 for Bradninch who, thanks to chip-ins from James Street (44), Tim Piper (23) and Greg Maher (32) made 280 for nine.

Victory leaves North Devon fourth in the table, 52 points behind leaders Exmouth with 66 to play for and aiming for one of the minor placings at best.

Ayre, filling in for the unavailable Matt Dart for a couple of games, said Bradninch refused to give up and were never far enough behind for North Devon to feel comfortable.

“Bradninch had six chance to get Craig out before he reached 172 – and if they had taken any of them it would have been a different game,” said Ayre.

“You don’t get away with that against a player of Craig’s quality and with Dan Boswer at the other end we made Bradninch pay a high price.

“You never know what’s a good total batting first at Bradninch because it is a quick-scoring ground and they have some players who can get on with it.

“Jackson Thompson teed off right from the start and we were glad to get him out for 17.

“Tim Piper likes to get on with it, so does Dan Hardy, and both of them kept coming at us.

“Bradninch are fighting for their lives right now and really gave it a good go.

“We managed to keep them just behind the asking rate long enough to leave them too much to do, but it was closer than it looked for a long time .”

North Devon are back at Instow this Saturday for an appointment with Cornwood.

HATHERLEIGH are in make-or-break territory now after losing by five wickets to Sandford.

Doomed Braunton (89pts) and Plymstock (123) are the teams below Hatherleigh (131) – both of whom they have to play in the last three games.

The first of those games is against Abbotskerswell, who are the next team up from Hatherleigh on 135 points.

“The crunch starts for us now with three massive games to finish the season,’ said skipper Mark Lake.

Hatherleigh only got as far as 135 for nine in all 50 overs against second-placed Sandford – Charlie Neilson making a top score of 37 – which was a major improvement on 31 for four after 18 overs.

Sandford skipper Simon Asplant (3-21) and Jamie Palmer (1-18) were early wicket takers before Rob Davies (21) and Rob Cockwill (10) halted the slide.

Davies, Cockwill and Rob Fisheleigh all went in a hurry as Hatherleigh slumped again, this time from 56 for four to 68 for seven with Matt Theedom (2-21) picking up a couple.

Neilson and super veteran Nick Rogers (23) batted out time to set some sort of total.

When Sandford were 31 for five in reply after 10 overs – Fishleigh (3-34) and Neilson (2-25) doing the damage – Hatherleigh must have felt they were on for a win.

After a break for rain the target came down to 125 to win and Sandford got there without further mishap thanks to Theedom and Ryan Glass.

Theedom made a patient 46 while Glass hit 49 off 57 balls as a stand of 95 unbroken won the game.

“We didn’t get enough runs yet again, but bowled brilliantly to reduce them to 33 for five and dropped Glass and Theedom before the score was 50,” mused Lake.

“If we had taken those catches I think we would have won. But after that they batted well and punished every bad ball.”

IT’S looking like curtains for Braunton in the A Division after they went down by 114 runs at Abbotskerswell.

Abbots recovered from 108 for four to make 286 for eight – Ryan Williams plundering his first league ton of the season.

Williams hit 117 and Guy Harrison-Roberts made 60 in a fifth-wicket stand of 122.

There were three wickets for left-armer Jon Baglow (3-49) and two each for Matt Smith and Mark Mitchell.

Braunton laboured to 29 for four – Alfie Huxtable surviving to make 34 – recovered to 107 for five then faded to 172 all out. Baglow made 32 and Mitchell 29.

Williams had a grand day all-round with four for 38 and Richard Acton took two for 38.

If Braunton lose to promotion-chasers Plympton they will be relegated.

BARNSTAPLE lost by three runs to B Division promotion pushers Ivybridge in a thrilling finish.

Barum needed four to win from the last three balls with three wickets in hand – and lost the lot in the attempt.

Crucially, James Thomas was run out for 37 when seemingly well set. Jeewan deSilva then bowled Lee Cole for 23 and Sean Cole swinging first ball.

Earlier, Tom Popham (56) and brother Jack (26) had given B&P a 67 run start, then Brady Saunders (59) and Tom Popham added another 66 as the chase hotted up.

There was a sudden stumble from 145 for two to 161 for six as deSilva (4-38) got stuck in, but Lee Cole and Thomas appeared to have swung the game with their stand of 65 in nine overs.

Ivybridge had made 229 for eight in 45 overs thanks to 66 from deSilva, Jake Zimmerman with 34 and Chris Greenhouse with 29 not out. Tail-ender Paul Veale swung the bat for 22 off 11 balls at the end, which proved crucial.

There were two wickets each for Thomas, Jack Popham, George McEndoo and Danny Donovan.

BIDEFORD are just about there in the C Division promotion race after a nail-biting three-run win over Axminster.

Axminster have been hard on Bideford’s heels at the top of the table all season and the game was billed as the title decider.

Bideford are now 34 points clear of Axminster at the top and 65 in front of third-placed Ipplepen with 66 to play for.

Pens may catch Axminster on the run in – the two sides play this weekend – but there isn’t much relegation worriers Yelverton can do to stop Bideford getting the point they need to be sure of top spot.

Skipper James Ford top scored for Bideford with 76 in their tally of 202 for nine.

Aussie run machine Jordy Gilmore was out first ball to Rob Prior (2-33) but Al Savage (22) and Matt Shepherd (28) topped up the total.

Joel Seward (3-430 had the best figures for the Axminster bowlers.

Axminster went off in hot pursuit – Gary Larcombe (32) and Seward (31) helping them to 99 for two with 17 overs to go.

Man of the match Ford (4-38) assisted by Josh King (2-47) took wickets at important times for Bideford.

Despite Mat Pile’s 24 and Steve Wakeley’s 20 off 17 balls at the end, Axminster finished short on 199 for nine.

FILLEIGH came a cropper by 57 runs at Countess Wear, who knocked up 255 for seven then bowled them out for 198.

Dave Harkness (60) and Kam Singh (51) were the main run scorers in Wear’s tally.

Although James Popplewell (54) and Ryan Bowden (45) made progress for Filleigh, they were bowled out by Par Singh (3-48) and Carl Downes (4-25).

Filleigh are at home to Honiton this Saturday.

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