Barnstaple and Pilton missed a chance to gain ground on D Division East leaders Exmouth when they lost to them by 39 runs on the Maer.

With only one promotion place in the division, the only way up is to finish top.

Fourth-placed Barnstaple could have narrowed the gap by winning at Exmouth, but defeat has dropped them 36 points behind.

Realistically, Barnstaple need three more wins than Exmouth in the last eight games, which looks a tall order.

Exmouth opener Richard Baggs thumped 76 and there were chip ins from Oliver Pugsley (35) and Greg Marks (27) in Exmouth’s 45-over total of 197 for eight.

Pick of the bowlers were Jack Moore (2-25) and Lee Cole (2-18). Steve Moore took one for 17 from nine miserly overs.

Barnstaple had plenty to do after slumping to 28 for three then 78 for six. Only Jack Moore (32) hung around long as Sean Day (4-13) wreaked havoc.

Cole (54) and Steve Moore (43) gave Barnstaple hope with a stand of 77 for the seventh wicket and at 153 for six Exmouth had to break the stand.

Luke Davies did the job by bowling Cole and it didn’t take long for Alex Craib (4-28) to knock over the tail-enders as B&P lost four for five on their way to 158 all out.

Barnstaple and Pilton entertain Upottery this Saturday.

North Devon’s second XI slipped back into relegation danger when the lost by five wickets at Upottery.

Rob Ayre (29) and Jack Hockin (50) hoisted 62 for North Devon’s second wicket and contributions from Dom Ford (31) and Matt Dart (39) helped post a total of 211 for nine.

Ryan Pulman (4-42) took the bowling honours for Upottery.

North Devon seamer Jay Rothery (2-33) picked up a wicket in the first over after tea and had both men out in a running total of 38 for two.

A stand of 77 between Jack Larcombe (44) and James Mitcham (40) pointed Upottery in the right direction.

A double strike by Hockin (2-47) briefly slowed the chase, but Mark Joyce (35no) and Ryan Pulman (35no) polished off 67 unbroken to win the game with more than four overs to spare.

North Devon are only two place and nine points off the drop spots. They are at home to struggling Countess Wear on Saturday.