THE North Devon Holiday Homes cricket league was savaged by the wet weather at the weekend. Although a number of games managed to start - and some manfully battled on, coming off three and four times - just one match was able to played through to its conc
THE North Devon Holiday Homes cricket league was savaged by the wet weather at the weekend.Although a number of games managed to start - and some manfully battled on, coming off three and four times - just one match was able to played through to its conclusion, the Division Four game at the Kelsey Ground, Braunton. Seventeen wickets fell for a combined total of 181 runs between Kelseymen and Lynton & Lynmouth II.In the First Division, not a single ball was bowled at Filleigh where Beaford were the visitors, or at Lynton & Lynmouth where title-chasing North Devon were the scheduled opposition.But at Newton Tracey, they got to within striking distance of a finish as Bideford, chasing down the home side's 165, were well placed on 137-4 with one third of their overs still to be used. But having already fled the pitch three times, the fourth occasion proved one mad dash too many and the game was abandoned. Andy Chatham (48) and Bill Sobey (33) made the most decisive contributions for the home side as Michael Warne (3-31) and Dan Bowser (3-13) struck with the ball and then Bowser cracked 62 to take his side to within 29 runs of victory when the heavens forced them off for the final time.In Division Two, a rain soaked Raleigh Meadow put paid to any chance of play between Barnstaple & Pilton and Victoria Park. There was some play at Hatherleigh where the hosts were 136-5 thanks to 37 from Houston Engel and an unbeaten 31 from Simon Gillespie by the time the rains arrived.And they fared slightly worse at Knightshayes where Braunton had 70 on the board when the weather took charge - a great shame, as this particular contest looked to have a huge bearing on the top positions. It is clearly a four-team tilt at top with only two places into Division One up for grabs. There's precious little to choose between the quartet, led by Heathcoat and Hatherleigh, who have six to play. Braunton have five left while fourth-placed Victoria Park still have seven games to negotiate. No play either at Westleigh but on this occasion it was nothing to do with the elements as scheduled opponents Ilfracombe could not raise a side and so conceded the game.The "win" allowed Westleigh to climb out of then bottom two for the first time this term, while Bratton Fleming slipped into the second relegation berth alongside North Devon II.In the third division, they were fortunate enough to get play in all four games in the section but none managed to play through to a finish. The closest game to reach a conclusion was at Bratton Fleming II, where the home side were in deep trouble with half their side out and just 48 on the board facing visiting Incorrigibles offering of 159. Luke Weeks top scored with 48 for the Witheridge side while Murray Sharpe (3-34) and Steve Ayre (4-21) combined with great effect with the ball. Alex Elston had already nailed a brace while Graham Barrow's 19 was the top home score when the weather closed in. The biggest individual score of the day came from Shobrooke Park's debutant Chris Horn. On Saturdays, Horn plays for Budleigh and he marked his first appearance in a Park Sunday kit with an unbeaten 145 as he and Tom O'Keefe (83) added 200 for the second wicket. The visitors made an imposing 278-2, after hosts North Devon II had cruised to 119-1 after just 21 overs of their reply, with Jamie Overton (67no) and Dan Payne (14no) still at the wicket. Tom Stanton (31) was the one Instow batsman back in the pavilion and this looked to be brewing into a thrilling finish, and surely would have been, but for the rain closing in with a vengeance. They had thunder and lightning at Cheriton Fitzpaine where Barnstaple & Pilton had moved to 61 without any loss when the rain forced the side off.The game at Holsworthy met a similar fate with visiting Sandford II 83-4 after 28 overs. Pete Whitby had top scored with 45, Duncan Edwards, Mark Taylor and Andrew Butler had shared the wicket-taking duties Holsworthy.In Division Four, Newton Tracey II's Matthew Warren claimed the one home wicket to fall at Bishops Nympton where the hosts had reached 80-1 when rain ruined proceedings. A waterlogged King George V field prevented any play at all in the Victoria Park II versus Shebbear game but they started on time, and played to a finish at Kelsey where Lynton & Lynmouth won a low scoring affair by three wickets in a match that produced a couple of 'fivfer' returns. Tristan Jones took 5-22 as Kelseymen were bowled out for 89. And then, despite a five-wicket haul from Martin Lewis, an unbeaten 26 from Connor Constable saw the visitors to their three-wicket win.In the basement division, not a ball was bowled in the one Saturday game (North Molton v Barnstaple & Pilton III) or the Sunday game at Witheridge where Halberton where set to meet Nomansland. But spare a thought for the good folk who put together the teams at Black Torrington. For once they had a full side and were set to travel to Bradninch II for a match when an 11.30am call came through advising that the heavy rains had taken their toll on the Kensham Park ground.