Fionn Toland took Bideford 2nd XI to the brink of victory in the Tier Six play-off game for regional runners-up.
Bideford had to wait a week to discover whether they would be entertaining South Brent or Chagford in the final – and it was the latter who made the trip to Westward Ho!
All the other play-off games had been settled a week before Bideford met Chagford.
Chagford, who won the toss and batted, were all out for 127 with eight balls to go. There were more extras (44) than any single score by a batsman.
John Weeks (3-29) had wickets for Bideford as Chagford struggled to 59 for five, Jim Keats (2-16) tied down the middle order and Jack Ford (2-8 off 7) spun out a couple at the end.
James Hayter (29) and Toland (41) got Bideford up to 115 for three in reply, which left Rob Hill (19no) and Julian Hayter (6no) to complete a seven-wicket win.
Braunton may have opted out of the end-of-season play-offs, but don’t read too much into that.
A visit to Paignton for a third-placed play-off was a trip too far on a day when the 2nd XI had a home play-off of their own and could not spare that many cover players.
The first team had a respectable season in North Division One with what was one of the youngest sides the club has put on the field.
Jon Baglow, a former Braunton captain and Devon seam bowler, said: “We had two under-15s in the side and two more who aren’t 20 yet.
“The next eldest in the side was 26, which made myself (46) and Steve Moore (56) feel pretty old.
James Lake (18) showed up well in the bowling stats for Braunton and young batters Sam Bithell (19) and 15 year olds Jack Whittaker and Andy Norman demonstrated promise. Bithell and Whittaker both averaged in the high 30s.
Moore, officially the senior player at Braunton, has high hopes next season could be the last for a while at C Division level.
“Potentially we have a good, young side so next season we will looking to be challenging at the top of the table,” said Moore.
Hatherleigh’s acting captain Rob Cockwill was glad to see up-and-coming players seize their first-team chance during the Premier season that ended earlier this month.
Results were not Hatherleigh’s strong point in Premier North – one win in five completed games – but Cockwill could live with that.
Freed from the twin pressure of relegation and expensive overseas players in opposing teams, clubs such as Hatherleigh could give the next generation a taste of what first team cricket is all about.
Spin bowling batter Eddie Jones, took 14 wickets at around 18 runs each and the Presswell twins – seamer Jasper and his spin-bowling brother Charlie – had 11 wickets between them.
Cockwill, who took over the captaincy when Mark Lake suffered a shoulder injury in a warm-up match, said the eight-game season had been a worthwhile exercise for a number of reasons.
“With a lack of overseas players it was interesting to see how teams used games to blood youth and give them a chance to play more of a role in games,” said Cockwill.
“I know our younger players have really thrived and enjoyed the pressure of first-team cricket and it can only help them moving forward.
“We will have to improve over the winter, and keep pushing ourselves to achieve this, but we are looking forward to the challenge.
“Obviously we hope we get a full season of cricket next year. Our aim as a club is to compete and stay in the Premier, which is where I think the club belongs.”
Cockwill said another positive to come out of the season was getting games on.
“A lot of thanks must go to all our club members and, of course the Devon Cricket League for making cricket happen again in a safe and enjoyable way,” said Cockwill.