North Devon have to work hard to topple Torquay

North Devon Gazette

Promotion-chasing North Devon had to work hard for a three-wicket win over Torquay in a low-scoring game on the Recreation Ground.

Torquay were eight for three after a top-order breakdown, but recovered to reach 146 all out with 10 balls to go.

Tom Drake (55) played the middle-order anchorman role and he was involved in stands that added exactly 100. Kesh Wijerathna (26) and Reuben Stanley (21) were other contributors.

North Devon’s bowlers gave Torquay little to hit with Jack Moore (3-15) and Ben Howe (2-29) particularly tough to score against.

North Devon’s run chase was an up-and-down affair as spinners Harry Passenger (3-26) and Chris Kelmere (2-25) picked up regular wickets in a running total of 82 for six with opener Howe long gone for 35.

Jack Moore defied everything Torquay could bowl at him and his undefeated 63, helped by 19 from George McEndoo, got North Devon home with 13 deliveries remaining.

For Torquay it was the end of any promotion aspirations they might have harboured as defeat drops them down to fifth in the table nearly three points on average off the pace.

North Devon are second in the table and increasingly likely to be going up with champs-in-waiting Bradninch.

The seconds missed out on the chance to gain ground on the top two in the C Division East when leaders Alphington & Countess Wear defeated them by 98 runs in the Sandhills.

Although Alphington & Countess Wear (18.00pts) appear nailed-on for one of the promotion slots, Uplyme & Lyme Regis (16.50) and North Devon (14.92) were shoulder to shoulder chasing second place.

North Devon are not out of it yet, but Uplyme are on a five-match winning run and seem to have the momentum to take them through to promotion.

Opener Mark Halse set the tone for A&CE by striking 90 and his stand of 143 for the third wicket with skipper James Bogue (60) sped them towards a total of 219 for six.

Veteran Rob Ayre (3-44) was North Devon’s primary wicket taker.

Jay Rothery opened up with 41 off 29 balls and no one managed any more than him in the North Devon reply.

Three wickets each for Richard Reardon (3-28), Dylan Spicer (3-16) and Mark Halse (3-16) meant North Devon’s batters could never settle and they were all out for 121 with more than 13 overs to go.