Draw disappoints the leaders

Joseph Bulmer

NORTH Devon had to settle for an unsatisfactory draw from their top-of-the-table Premier Division clash with defending champions Sidmouth.

There was nothing wrong with the decision to abandon the game as a draw due to a combination of bad light and drizzle, or North Devon’s haul of 14 points. But what

will have disappointed North Devon skipper Mike Hedden was Sidmouth’s 12-point haul, which would only have been eight had the game gone the distance to a draw.

With every point vital in the race for the title, North Devon will feel hard done by that Sidmouth are four points closer than they could have been!

Leaders North Devon dodged the showers to make 223 for six in 43 overs – opener Neil Bettis making a patient 90. There were stands of 57 with Mike Hedden to open up, 76 with Craig Overton (50) and 66 with last man out Glen Quirl (23).

Matt Cooke was the pick of the Sidmouth bowlers with three for 55.

Sidmouth were heading for a draw at 158 for seven with five overs to go when play was halted by the umpires. North Devon seamer Matt Westaway had taken five wickets in a row and 6-37 in total to leave the middle order in tatters

Sidmouth opener Anthony Griffiths was out early for 10 to Overton. Opening partner Josh Bess batted through to make 91, while his partners were surrendering en-masse to Westaway. The carnage only stopped when Jamie Wardrop came out at 128 for seven and shut up shop.

North Devon stay top, with Exmouth second after they drew with Budleigh and Sidmouth third.

They return to Instow this Saturday to play Bovey Tracey.

BRAUNTON were seven-run losers against visiting Sandford in a real nail-biter of a match.

Braunton captain Jon Baglow helped himself to a 6-30 haul as Sandford were bowled out for 156.

Sean Hawkins top scored for Sandford with 62 as they recovered from 31-4 to reach 135-7 and Chris Blake (33) and Darryn Mortimore (36) also weighed in.

Braunton dipped to 18-3 in reply as Mortimore (5-38) and Gary Binns (2-40) got among them, but with Stuart Rhodes hitting 41 they recovered to 95-4.

Then it all went wrong for Braunton as three wickets went for five runs, leaving them 99-7. Baglow (21) and Harry Booker (23no) fought back in a stand of 38 for the eighth wicket. Closer and closer Braunton crept, until Mortimore was brought back and struck twice to bowl Braunton out with seven balls to go.

Braunton visit Cornwood this Saturday.

BARNSTAPLE & Pilton were walloped by nine wickets when they ran into B Division promotion-chasers South Devon.

They were hustled out in 39 overs, almost exclusively by left-arm spinner Matt Coult. The former Cornwall U19 took 8-26 runs as B&P subsided from 80-5 to 118 all out.

Jack Popham (20), Lee Cole (18) and Mike Paine (18) were the only batters to make it into double figures. B&P were without free-scoring Ed Yeo and it showed.

Knocking off the runs was never a problem for South Devon, whose only casualty on the chase was Tom Carter. Carter (54) and Henry Burningham (38no) put on 114 for the first wicket in 24 overs, leaving it to next man in David Baldock to hit the winning runs.

Barnstaple & Pilton will have Yeo back for the visit to Thorverton this Saturday.

CLYST Hydon had too many runs for Bideford in a drawn C Division game at Merryfield.

Chris Jelley hit 92, Andy Feather cracked 83 and Graham Trude was stuck on 49 not out in a Clyst total of 274-5. James Ford bagged 3-57 with his off-spin.

South African Mike Young from Durban then blasted 103 in Bideford’s reply of 200-9. Dhanuja Haturusingha was the pick of the Clyst bowlers with 5-52.

Bideford face Lewdown this Saturday.

HATHERLEIGH were trounced by nine wickets away to early leaders Lewdown.

Lewdown skipper Charlie Hughes had every reason to feel anxious after his side stumbled to 128 all out in 41 overs. They were in trouble from the start at 39-4, recovered to 79-5 then plunged to 96-8 before Anthony Weeks (17) got the total past 100. Rob Fishley (3-19) led the bowling effort, aided an abetted by Nick Scott-Rogers and Simon Gillespie with two each.

Hatherleigh were in an even worse state when they batted and only survived for 13.2 overs. Rob Mutch (5-25) and Phil Yeo (5-10) skittled them out for 35, with Rob Cockwill posting the best of a sorry set of scores.

Hatherleigh make the long trip to Kingsbridge on Saturday..

FILLEIGH powered to a 136-run win in the E Division at Babbacombe, where a Simon Prideaux century led the North Devon side to 260-8.

Tim Stapleton (4-45) and Paul Bates (3-44) took wickets for Babbacombe who were then bowled out for 124.

Andy Bullen (51) was the only home batsman to make an impression as John Hickman (4-34) and Ryan Bowden (4-39), took wickets for the North Devon side.