North Devon are the champions

Joseph Bulmer

NORTH Devon captain Mike Hedden would love to have a crack at the Devon county side next after the lads from Instow beat Exmouth by four wickets to claim the Premier Division title.

Exmouth were all out for 191 in the last over, which North Devon chalked off with four balls to spare.

North Devon have been out in front for so long this season that it was only a question of how many games to spare they would win it in. But for a rain-off at Plymouth seven days earlier, the title would already have been under lock and key before Saturday.

Hedden said the all-round strength in the side had shone through week after week and he believed North Devon could give Devon a run for their money.

“I look around the dressing room and don’t see a weak link in the team,” said Hedden. “Everyone has been a match winner at some stage and no one can say we rely on a couple of players or our overseas player Glenn Querl.

“Querl has had a phenomenal season – 56 wickets so far – and has been great around the club working with the players. The Overton twins, Neil Betts, Dan Bowser, Rob Gear, Matt Westway – in fact everyone has done something to win a match. With the side we have, a game against the county team could be very interesting…”

Exmouth laboured at first – they were 29 for three after an early duffing up from England U19 star Craig Overton (3-51) and Querl (4-34) – but recovered with Anthony Radunovic (50) Richard Baggs (43) and Andy Buzza (31) leading the way.

Bettis (44), with Bowser at the other end, took North Devon to 102 for three. Baggs had Bettis stumped, but Bowser was dug in for the afternoon and batted through with assistance from Querl (16) and Alex Smith (14). He clobbered David Lye back over his head for six into the pavilion car park to win the match with two balls to spare and finish on 76 not out.

BRAUNTON handed out a 100-run hiding to Abbotskerswell in the A Division when they visited Two Mile Oak.

Jaz Kalsi top scored with 80 – he and Harry Booker (29) put on 54 for the fifth wicket – and that was it from Braunton in a modest total of 148 for eight. There were two wickets each for Marcus Green, Chris Kelmere and Rob Shergold.

But Abbots were all out for 42 in reply – Green’s 13 as good as it got. Five Abbots players failed to make a run between them – and from 19 for eight they were lucky to make 42. Stewart Rhodes (4-6) and Jon Baglow (4-13) were the bowlers who did the damage.

BARNSTAPLE spoiled the promotion party at Plymstock with a 49-run win over the champions.

Plymstock needed three points against Barnstaple & Pilton to go up – and that’s all they got in a disappointing display.

Barnstaple recovered from a shaky start to make 124 for six in a 35-over game – Tom Popham (56) and Steve Moore putting on 38 unbroken for the last wicket. George Barnicott had three for 30.

Plymstock nosedived to 52 for six in reply, with Jack Popham (5-24) and Henry McEndoo (4-17) doing the damage.

Skipper Dave Orchard’s 20 was as good as it got in a sorry total of 75 all out.

HATHERLEIGH set up an absorbing last day of the season this Saturday when they defeated Bideford by nine wickets.

For Hatherleigh are chasing the runners-up spot behind champs Lewdown and sit just eight points behind Clyst Hydon in second place.

Clyst face unbeaten Lewdown on Saturday while Hatherleigh play winless Cockington.

Bideford set off at a brisk pace, reaching 24 for none in four overs, then lost Mike Young to Rob Fishlegh (3-16).

Simon Gillesepie (3-41) tool mid-innings wickets, then Mark Lake (3-9) got stuck in as Bideford collapsed from 84 for four to 99 all out. Matt Allin (25) and James Ford (22) had the only scores of note.

Hatherleigh lost Rob Chapman at 16, but were otherwise untroubled, Gareth Tidball (45no) and Hugh Romans (26no) knocked off the rest.

FILLEIGH are the favourites of the three teams chasing the two E Division promotion places if only because they host winless and relegated Woodbury on the final day.

The final away day for Filleigh saw them visit relegation threatened Tiverton and Bickleigh where they won buy fifty runs to bank all but two of the points on offer.

Nick Dartnoll (39), James Hill (29) and Martin Brice (28) led the visitors to 160 all out. Paul Rendall (4-11), Stuart McDonald (3-29) and John Hall (3-44) took the wickets for the Culmstock-based side who then reached 82-1 with a run chase very much on the cards.