THE RACE for the top honour in the Stay In Devon North Devon League is now very much a four-team affair after a second consecutive defeat for North Devon, beaten at home by Filleigh by 24 runs.

Filleigh batted first at Instow and were bowled out for 185. Jaz Kalsi top scored with 49, while Charlie Popplewell (30) and teenager McCauley Harrison-Hooton (29) also made important contributions. Simon Wright took 4-28 in nine overs.

North Devon were then bowled out for 161, with only Fergus O’Donnell making any sort of impression with the bat with a knock of 37, while there were 33 extras. Popplewell completed a fine all-round shift with 4-17.

There are just 18 top flight matches to be played to complete the season and it’s all set for the closest finish in many years.

Hatherleigh are the current leaders followed closely by Filleigh, North Devon and Newton Tracey. Hatherleigh and North Devon each have four to play, while Filleigh and Newton Tracey have five games left, with the latter facing North Devon, Filleigh and Hatherleigh.

Two of the three Division 2 games were played, with Beaford 135-run winners at 10-man Lynton and Lynmouth, who now look destined to slip into Division Three.

Paul Heard (60) and Peter McMillan (33) led their side to 220-9. Nick Bowen (3-45) and Tristan Jones (2-30) were the principle Lynton wicket takers. The hosts were then undone by Alex Crisp, who claimed 5-21 in nine overs as the hosts were bundled out for 85, Pete Druce top scoring with 18.

James Starkey hit an unbeaten half century to guide Shebbear to a six wicket win at Victoria Park, where the home side’s Adam Oliver hit 35 in an all out total of 131.

There was no play possible at flood-hit Weare Giffard, who had thought they could switch the game to opponents Halberton, but were advised this was not in league rules. That was something that surprised Halberton, who have previously played the same opposition twice at the same venue when weather has been an issue.

A Justin Dollow century kept Shobrooke in a Division Three promotion berth after a 64-run win at Bratton Fleming. Dollow dominated their innings of 180-9 and their hosts were then bowled out for 116.

Sandford maintained their push for a top two finish with a five wicket win at Newton Tracey II.

John Whormsley hit 79 for the home side, who closed on 178-7, while Brian Leech, Ashley Baker and Gary Abdul each bagged a brace of wickets for the Mid Devon side. Sandford got home with five wickets intact thanks to Luke Wright’s unbeaten 74 and a solid knock of 39 from Baker. Ollie Cowell took 2-32 for the beaten hosts.

Division Four saw a complete programme, with wins for Heathcoat II and Kelseymen enabling them to hold the top two places.

Heathcoat were 116-run home winners over North Devon III. Daniel Reed (68) and Chris Gregson (48) combined to lead the Knightshayes men to 249-6. Steve Lawrence took 2-25 for the visitors, who were then bundled out for 133, with only Ben Ainger making much of an impact with 48 as Sean Andrews sent down nine overs and returned the splendid figures of 3-7.

Kelseymen were one run winners in a thrilling encounter at Filleigh II.

Dominic Bracher hit 48 and Chris Brigden an unbeaten 34 as Kelseymen closed on 198-7. Filleigh lost their final wicket in the penultimate over just one run shy of the visitor’s total. Godfrey Tucker led the run chase with a superb 79, while Brigden completed a fine all-round effort for Kelseymen with 4-26.

James Tythcott hit an unbeaten century in a losing cause as Westleigh went down by 96 runs at Barnstaple and Pilton II.

Jaz Iqbal (68no) and Danny Donovan (65) combined to lead Barum to 273-5. The wickets were shared around as Tythcott continued to make his way to his century and he was not out 100 when the final Westleigh wicket was lost on 177.

Petrockstowe won for the third time this term to boost their hopes of avoiding the drop back into the basement division, overcoming visiting North Molton by four wickets.

Ian Cockwill (3-28) and Lewis Harris (3-24) shared wicket taking duties as North Molton were bowled out for 131. Gary Poop (26) and Harris (32) then led Petrockstowe to a comfortable triumph.

In Division Five, Barnstaple and Pilton III were 23-run winners at Nomansland.

Rob Hulm (36) and Will Knill (24) led Barum to 158. Les Rendell took 3-20 and Chris Cook claimed 3-23 for Nomansland, who were then bowled out for 135. Crook completed a fine all-round effort with an unbeaten 21. Andrew Barton took 3-13, but was upstaged by Joe Johnson with figures of 4-10.

Victoria Park II were unable to raise a side for their visit to table topping Bishop Nympton.

Division One

Filleigh 185 (J Kalsi 49, C Popplewell 30, M Harrison-Hooton 29; S Wright 4-28), North Devon 161 (F O’Donnell 37, extras 33; C Popplewell 4-17). Filleigh (20pts) bt North Devon (8) by 24 runs.

Division Two

Beaford 220-9 (P Herd 60, P McMillan 33; N Bowen 3-45, T Jones 2-30), Lynton nd Lynmouth 85 (P Druce 18; A Crisp 5-21). Beaford (20pts) bt Lynton and Lynmouth (0) by 135 runs.

Victoria Park 131 ( A Oliver 35), Shebbear 132-4 (J Starkey 64no). Shebbear (20pts) bt Victoria Park (4) by 6 wkts.

Were Gifford versus Halberton. Match not played owing to a flood damaged home venue.

Division Three

Shobrooke Park 180-9 (J Dollow 105), Bratton Fleming 116. Shobrooke Park (20pts) bt Bratton Fleming (4) by 64 runs.

Newton Tracey 178-7 (J Whormsley 79; B Leech 2-25, A Baker 2-28, G Abdul 2-29), Sandford II 179-5 (L Wright 74no, A Baker 39; O Cowling 2-32). Sandford (20pts) bt Newton Tracey (5) by 5 wkts.

Division Four

Heathcoat II 249-6 (D Reed 68, C Gregson 48; S Lawrence 2-25), North Devon III 133 (B Ainger 48; S Andrews 3-7). Heathcoat (20pts) bt North Devon (2) by 116 runs.

Kelseymen 198-7 (D Bracher 48, C Brigden 34no; J Ralph 2-30), Filleigh II 197 (G Tucker 79; C Brigden 4-26). Kelseymen (20pts) bt Filleigh (10) by 1 run.

Barnstaple and Pilton 273-5 (J Iqbal 68no, D Donovan 65), Westleigh 177 (J Tythcott 100no). Barnstaple and Pilton (20pts) bt Westleigh (4) by 96 runs.

Division Five

Barnstaple and Pilton III 158 (R Holm 36, W Knill 24; L Rendell 3-20, C Crook 3-23), Nomansland 135 (C Crook 21no; J Johnson 4-10, A Barton 3-13). Barnstaple and Pilton (20pts) bt Nomansland (8) by 33 runs.

Bishop Nympton versus Victoria Park II. Match not played as Victoria Park could not raise a side.