Mission accomplished as North Devon secure promotion

North Devon Gazette

North Devon are nailed-on for second spot in the A Division thanks to a seven-wicket win over Budleigh Salterton.

Even if North Devon take no points at all from their meeting with third-placed Barton on Saturday, the Torquay side can’t do enough to get past them.

For captain Tom Popham it was mission accomplished to achieve promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt.

“Our minimal objective was to go up at the first opportunity and we have done, which is a fantastic achievement for a young side,” said Popham.

It may be job done for Popham’s side, but Budleigh still have some work to do to steer clear of the second relegation place. A win over fellow worriers Seaton will put Budleigh in the clear.

Budleigh’s 50-over total of 173 all out featured no stand of more than 50 and no individual scores above 31.

Best of the bits and pieces in the scorebook were Tom Oxland’s 32, Matt Kimber’s 31, Max Mejzner’s 29 and 28 from Sam Whitehead.

North Devon’s most productive bowlers with three wickets each were Jack Moore (3-32) and Ben Howe (3-27). Jack Popham knocked over a couple.

North Devon were never going to lose once openers Howe (66) and Dan Bowser (44) hoisted 108 for the first wicket.Â

James Tyson (16no) and Tom Popham (10no) wiped off the last 26 needed to win it.

Mejzner (3-36) was Budleigh’s only wicket taker.

“Budleigh are a good side so it was a tricky game to seal it but Bowser and Howe got us to another great start in the chase and James Tyson finished  the game off," said North Devon skipper Popham.Â

Jack Popham and Jack Moore started off fantastically with the ball and Ben Howe and Josh Atkinson controlled the run rate in the middle overs to restrict them to a defendable total.”

Popham added: “Congratulations to Bradninch for winning the division.”

North Devon 2nd XI go into Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with D East rivals Uplyme & Lyme Regis knowing their chance of promotion has already gone.

Alphington & Countess Wear are already assured of promotion as champions and Uplyme will be going with them.

Second-placed Uplyme (16.77pts) are fractionally ahead of North Devon (15.15), who are right behind them in third.

As North Devon cannot gain enough points from beating Uplyme to displace them from second place, any victory over them would be a hollow one.

North Devon were due to play bottom side Sidmouth 3rd XI last time out, but that game became the latest Covid casualty.

At the other end of the table Barnstaple & Pilton go to Sidmouth 3rd XI looking for the win they need to be certain of getting ahead of Kentisbeare in the final table.

It really could not be any tighter down in the basement as B&P and Kents are level pegged on 8.92 points each.

Kentisbeare are at home to Chardstock in their final outing.

Barnstaple & Pilton were due to host champs-elect Alphington & Countess Wear last Saturday but that game was cancelled.

North Devon 3rd XI are on their way to the E Division East next season thanks to a 76-run win over Exeter 3rd XI that confirmed them as runners-up behind Braunton.

Richard Clarke (51) and super veteran Bob Heaman (35) got North Devon a start then Ollie Callaghan (33) helped post a 40-over total of 180 for five.

A rain break left. Exeter a revised target of 158 to win from 35 overs, but they were seldom in the running.

Ali Ashworth picked up four Exeter wickets for 17 runs as the city side only got as far as 81 for seven before rain stopped play in the 29th over to give North Devon victory on run rate.

*The Premier Division basement battle between Hatherleigh and Cornwood had the outcome neither captain wanted – it was rained-off as a no-result game.

Hatherleigh batted for 31 overs and were 80 for five when rain stopped play. Gareth Tidball (20) and Charlie Nielson (16) had the only scores of note for Hatherleigh.

Average points of around nine each did neither side any favours in their efforts to get out of the bottom two.

Four teams – Exmouth (9.31pts), Hatherleigh (9.42), Cornwood (9.70) and Exeter (10.73) – will go into the final round of games this Saturday scrapping for survival.

Hatherleigh host Exmouth in what will be the tensest of the games. Exeter are away to champs-elect Heathcoat and Cornwood go to Sidmouth.

“It’s going to be a massive weekend for a lot of clubs,” said Hatherleigh captain Mark Lake.