A SECOND defeat for Newton Tracey means that all the top flight North Devon league teams have now lost at least two games and the race for the title looks set to be one of the closest and most open, for some time.
Newton came a cropper at struggling Sandford, who were winning for only the second time this season!
Richard Screech was the only batsmen to prosper at Creedy Park, where Newton were bowled out for 157, with Ryan Glass the chief wicket taker with 3-45. Sean Hawkins then hit an unbeaten 68 and Russell Discombe 58 as Sandford closed out a comfortable victory for the loss of just two wickets.
North Devon are right back in the hunt to retain their crown after they won at a canter at Braunton, by eight wickets.
Former Instow favourite Stuart Rhodes (79) and skipper Alex Hodges (53) led the hosts to 194-8, including a 76-run stand for the fifth wicket. Joe Kelly, Alex Smith and Robert Mann each bagged a brace of wickets for the visitors, who then cruised to victory, led by Mike Hedden (86), Max Curtis (42) and Tom Ansell (42).
Barnstaple and Pilton won the match of the day in Division 2, maintaining their 100 per cent record with a 38-run win at second placed Beaford.
Ten man Barum batted first and were in trouble on 107-7 before Yasir Iqbal (45) and Ashok Ale (38) took them to a close of 194-8. Tom Popham (31) and George McEndoo (25) also made contributions, while Mark Lake, Alex Crisp and Paul Heard all bagged braces of wickets.
Beaford were then bowled out for 156, with only Mark Lake (39) and Ali McMillan (23) among the runs, although the total was boosted by a whopping 62 extras! Jack Popham (3-33), Brady Saunders (3-28) and Yasir Iqbal (3-26) were the wicket takers for the table toppers.
Incorrigibles climbed into third spot with a 108- run home win over Lynton and Lynmouth.
Recent acquisitions from Thorverton , Will Denford and Greg Fury, provided the bulk of the Witheridge runs. Denford hit 90 and Fury 59 to take their new side to 278-8. Connor Constable (3-45) and Ian Hobbs (2-24) claimed wickets for the visitors.
Lynton and Lynmouth were then bowled out for 170. Lawrence May (49) was the only batsman to make progress, while Matt Weeks picked up three wickets for the home side.
Shebbear edged a two wicket win at 10-man Morebath.
The Mid Devon side batted first and closed on 174-9, Chris Hill top scoring with 64 and Charlie Howe weighing in with 33. Ollie Wicket took 4-15 from eight overs. Wicket then top scored with 57 and James Starkey hit 47 and at 152-1 the run chase looked a formality. Then Charlie Howe was introduced and he promptly helped himself to a â€˜fiveferâ€™, just missing out on a hat-trick in the process as he finished with 5-42. But the visitors had enough in the tank to edge home by two wickets.
The only Division 3 game was dominated by a player more accustomed to top flight cricket! Matt Allin led the Holsworthy bowlers a merry dance, plundering an unbeaten 142 to guide Bideford II to a five wicket away win. Earlier Darren Jenkin had top scored for the home side with 36 in a total of 195-8. Mike Barrett took 3-26 for Bideford, who then sat back and left the run chase to Allin, who took them to a winning score of 196-5. Andrew Butler finished with 3-41 and Rob Mitchell ended with 2-38.
Division 4 leaders Belstone powered to 252-2 at North Devon III thanks to two centuries. Scott Tremain hit 105 and that score was matched by Chris Walpole, who recorded his first ever three figure knock. Bob Heaman top scored with 49 in the reply, which closed on 119-9. Dave Binns (3-40) and John Parsons (2-30), were the principle wicket takers.
Petrockstowe scored 225-6 at Victoria Park II and then restricted the hosts to 138-7 for an 87-run win. Ollie Scantlebury (66) and Steven Cox (46) were the main providers of runs for the visiting side while Adam Randleson (2-11) and Nigel Taylor (2-29) claimed wickets.
Ian Brown (44) and Tim Lane (41no) were the highest scorers for the home side, with Ian Cockwill picking up three wickets for the visitors.
Lynton and Lynmouth II climbed off the bottom of the Division 4 table and out of the bottom two following a six wicket win at home to North Molton. Chasing 145 to win, Pete Druce (61), who had earlier taken three wickets, and Gary Phillips, saw their side over the winning line.
Filleigh III climbed into a Division 5 promotion berth after a five wicket win at Barnstaple and Pilton.
McCauley Harrison-Hooton was the star with the ball for Filleigh. The youngster claimed 3-8 as only Brian Roe (85no) got runs for Barum, who closed on 170-5. Will Popplewell (46) and Mark Popplewell (35) then led their side to victory, Jamie Rowe picking up three wickets for beaten Barum.
Ilfracombe could only muster eight men, but still travelled to Bishops Nympton, where they were bowled out for 113.
Mark Cavanagh hit 20 of the Ilfracombe runs while Will Palmer sent down nine overs and took 2-8. Jamie Giffard (60no) and Patrick Talbot (30no) then put on a century in an unbroken third wicket stand to lead the hosts to an eight wicket win.
Pete Guest top scored with an unbeaten 81 and knocks of 45 from Chris Gregson and 31 from Will Clancy helped Heathcoat II to 268-7 at home to Cheriton Fitzpaine. Mark English took 2-25 for the Cherries, who were the bowled out for 116 with John Pitts and Mike Foan both scoring 17. Jamie Drew (2-8), Matt Hadson (2-10) and Nick Goulty (2-15) were all among the wickets.
North Devon (20pts) bt Braunton (2) by 8 wkts.
Braunton 194-8 (S Rhodes 79, A Hodges 53; J Kelly 2-26), North Devon 198-2 (M Hedden 86, M Curtis 42, T Ansell 42).
Sandford (20pts) bt Newton Tracey (2) by 8 wkts.
Newton Tracey 157 (R Screech 62; R Glass 3-45, S Ashplant 1-45), Sandford 158-2 (S Hawkins 68no, R Discombe 56).
Shebbear (20pts) bt Morebath (8) by 2 wkts.
Morebath 174-9 (C Hill 64, C Howe 33; O Wicket 4-15), Shebbear 175-8 (O Wicket 57, J Starkey 43; C Howe 5-42).
Incorrigibles (20pts) bt Lynton and Lynmouth (2) by 108 runs.
Incorrigibles 278-8 (W Denford 90, A Fury 59; C Constable 3-45, I Hobbs 2-24), Lynton and Lynmouth 170 (L May 49; M Weeks 3-21, J Hope 2-1).
Barnstaple and Pilton (20pts) bt Beaford 6) by 38 runs.
Barnstaple and Pilton 194-8 ( Y Iqbal 45, A Ale 38, T Popham 31, G McEndoo 25; M lake 2-25, A Crisp 2-28, P Herd 2-50), Beaford 156 (M lake 39, A McMillan 23; Y Iqbal 3-26, B Saunders 3-28, J Popham 3-33).
Bideford II (20pts) bt Holsworthy (5) by 5 wkts.
Holsworthy 195-8 (D Jenkin 36; M Barrett 3-26), Bideford II 196-5 (M Allin 142no; A Butler 3-41, R Mitchell 2-38).
Belstone (20pts) bt North Devon III (0) by 133 runs.
Belstone 252-2 (S Tremain 105no, C Walpole 105), North Devon III 119-9 (B Heaman 49; D Binns 3-40, J Parsons 2-30).
Petrockstowe (20pts) bt Victoria Park (4) by 87 runs.
Petrockstowe 225-6 (O Scantlebury 66, S Cox 46; A Randleson 2-11, N Taylor 2-49), Victoria Park II 138-7 (I Brown 44, T Lane 41no; I Cockwill 3-28).
Lynton and Lynmouth (20pts) bt North Molton (4pts) by 6 wkts.
North Molton 144, Lynton and Lynmouth II 145-4.
Heathcoat (20pts) bt Cheriton Fitzpaine (0) by 152 runs.
Heathcoat II 268-7 (P Guest 81no, C Gregson 45, W Clancy 31; M English 2-25), Cheriton Fitzpaine 116 (J Pitt 17, M Foan 17; J Drew 21-8, M Hadson 2-10, N Goulty 2-15).
Bishops Nympton (20pts) bt Ilfracombe (2) by 8 wkts
Ilfracombe 113 (M Cavanagh 20; W Palmer 2-8), Bishops Nympton 114-2 (J Giffard 60no, P Talbot 30no).
Filleigh (20pts) bt Barnstaple and Pilton (5) by 5 wkts.
Barnstaple and Pilton III 170-5 (B Roe 85no; M Harrison-Hooton 3-8), Filleigh III 171-5 (W Popplewell 46, M Popplewell 35; J Rowe 3-29).
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