Barnstaple and Pilton’s promotion hopes in the D Division East are fading fast after a 179-run defeat by new leaders Heathcoat II.

One win in the last five starts – which include a rain-off – has seen Barnstaple drop from third to 26 points off the promotion pace.

A defeat in the derby clash with North DevonII this Saturday will probably be the end for Barnstaple.

North Devon certainly won’t be feeling charitable – their 98-run defeat at Sandford has left them only eight points clear of the relegation places.

A third-wicket partnership of 116 between Will Thompson (84) and Simon Sobczak (50) pointed Heathcoat towards a total of 278 for eight. Joe Du’Gay (27) and Dylan Penbethy (25) chipped in.

The Barnstaple bowlers struggled for wickets, apart from James Lake (4-53). Steve Moore – nine overs for 20 runs – kept it tight.

Jack Moore (43) had the only notable score for Barnstaple, who went from 56 for three to 74 for eight and on to 99 all out.

North Devon’s middle-order batting fell apart at Sandford, where they were faced with making 233 to win.

Skipper Shaun Hawkins was the star man for Sandford with 109 in their total of 232 for seven. He went in at 23 for one and was last out.

David Hartley (2-32) and James Thomas (2-39) took the bowling plaudits for North Devon.

North Devon lost opener James Tyson to Brian Leach (2-21) in the first over, but were in no real difficulties as Joe Kelly (23), Rob Ayre (23) and Thomas (26) got them up to 70 for three.

Wickets tumbled to Hawkins (3-18) and Simon Saunders (2-38) as North Devon veered to 84 for six.

After brief resistance from Jedd Foster (19), Tom Williams (3-29) took out the tail as North Devon were dismissed for 134