The Division 1 title race in the Stay in Devon North Devon League got even closer on Sunday with defeat for Hatherleigh at Sandford, which means that now any one of five teams could yet land the top honour.
Tom Sparrow (49), Steve Morish (45) and Luke Wright (41) combined to lead Sandford to 209. Sean Letheren claimed 4-39 for the visitors.
Hatherleigh were then bowled out for 143. Only Gareth Tidball, with a superb 63, made much impression with the bat. Gary Abdul was the pick of the home bowlers with 3-63.
Overnight rain put paid to the other top flight games at Barnstaple and Pilton and Filleigh.
With just 15 matches remaining to be played in the top division any one of Filleigh, Newton Tracey, North Devon, Hatherleigh or Sandford, could still win it.
Filleigh, with just the one defeat to date, stay top. But they will have their title credentials put to the test with games against title rivals Hatherleigh, Newton Tracey and Sandford in the next three weeks!
Halberton have gone clear at the top of Division 2 after they maintained their one hundred per cent record with a two wicket win at Beaford, while Heathcoat - who had a County Twenty20 final day to attend at Exmouth - were forced to concede their match at Weare Giffard and end their perfect record.
But spare a thought for Weare Giffard. With Heathcoat being unable to field an eleven, Giffard have still to play a home game in the league this season.
Halberton’s win owed much to Devon Under-19 player Will Squire, who plays his Saturday cricket in the Premier Division of the Francis Clark League for Bradninch. Squire took 5-22 as hosts Beaford were bowled out for 170. Alex Crisp (53) and Ali McMillan (32) were the only two batsmen to prosper. Greg Maher then thumped 67 to lead the Mid Devon side to victory. Andrew James finished with figures of 4-27.
For Halberton it’s all now very clear. Avoid defeat in their last four outings, which see them meet Heathcoat home and away, Shebbear at home and, first, a trip to Incorrigibles this Sunday and they will join the elite in the top flight next season.
There were plenty of runs at Incorrigibles, where the home side beat Shebbear by seven wickets in a contest that produced two centurions.
Ollie Wickett slammed an unbeaten 130 to lead the visitors to 242-7. James Hope claimed 4-69 and then struck 102 to help guide the Witheridge side to victory, helped along the way by an unbeaten 88 from Ryan Bowden.
Holsworthy stay top in Division 3 after an 81-run win at Newton Tracey II.
They were led to 234-6 by Jack Greening (76) and Matthew Williams (42). Simon Gear (2-26), John Whormsley (2-27) and John Turner (2-28) claimed wickets for the 10-man hosts, who were then bowled out for 153 with Simon Gear top scoring with 48. Darren Jenkin and Matthew Williams both bagged a brace of wickets.
Shobrooke Park are right on the shoulder of the leaders and if they win their game in hand both teams would have the same points average with three each to play.
Phil Anning (75no), Peter Steer (58) and Justin Dollow (53) hit the bulk of the home runs in a Shobrooke total of 230-7. Fergus O’Donnell and Robert Mann both bagged a brace of wickets for North Devon, who were then bowled out for 197. Barney Meadowcroft hit 88 and supporting acts came from Ray Clarke (33) and Luke Peterson (31). Match-winner for the Mid Devon men was Dollow, who followed up his half century with 5-37.
Bideford II had made their way to 28 without loss when Bratton Fleming’s Curtis Parkin claimed a hat-trick. James Tapp (4-23) then polished the visitors off for 74. Bratton passed the target for the loss of just one wicket, thanks to an unbeaten 39 from Steve Ayre.
Rob Ayres starred with ball and then bat as North Molton won by seven wickets in their Division 4 match at Kelseymen.
Ayres claimed 4-28 as the home side closed on 221-7. Darren Hawkings hit 73 for the Braunton side, who then claimed just three wickets as Ayres hit an unbeaten 118 and, supported by Chris Turner with 63, made sure that the away side romped to victory.
McCauley Harrison-Hooton struck 72 to guide Filleigh II to an eight wicket win at North Devon III. Earlier Millie Squire picked up 3-18 as the Instow side were bowled out for 138, with Dan Pickard the principle scorer with 75 and Sam Meadowcroft chipping in with 25.
Rob Holm led Barnstaple and Pilton III to a five wicket Division 5 win at Victoria Park II with a knock of 60. Earlier James Row (3-19) and Joe Johnson (2-20) had combined to bowl the home side out for 141.
Sandford 209 (T Sparrow 49, S Morish 45, L Wright 41; S Letheren 4-39), Hatherleigh 143 (G Tidball 63; G Abdul 3-63). Sandford (20pts) bt Hatherleigh (6) by 66 runs.
Barnstaple and Pilton versus Bideford. No play, waterlogged pitch.
Filleigh versus Braunton. No play, waterlogged pitch.
Beaford 170 (A Crisp 53, A McMillan 32; W Squire 5-22), Halberton 171-8 (G Maher 67; A James 4-27). Halberton (20pts) bt Beaford (8) by 2 wkts.
Shebbear 242-7 (O Wickett 136 no; J Hope 4-69), Incorrigibles 243-3 (J Hope 102, R Bowden 88no). Incorrigibles (20pts) bt Shebbear (3) by 7 wkts.
Weare Giffard versus Heathcoat. Not played as Heathcoat could not raise a side. Weare Giffard (20pts) bt Heathcoat (0) w/o
Bideford II 74 (J Tapp 4-23, C Parkin 3-21), Bratton Fleming 75-1 (S Ayre 39no). Bratton Fleming (20pts) bt Bideford (1) by 9 wkts.
Holsworthy 234-6 (J Greening 76, M Williams 42; S Gear 2-26, J Whormsley 2-27, J Turner 2-28), Newton Tracey II 153-9 (S Gear 48; D Jenkin 2-10, M Williams 2-19). Holsworthy (20pts) bt Newton Tracey (4) by 81 runs.
Shobrooke Park 230-7 (P Anning 75no, P Steer 58, J Dollow 53; F O’Donnell 2-45, R Mann 2-64), North Devon III 197n (B Meadowcroft 88, R Clarke 33, L Peterson 31; J Dollow 5-37), Shobrooke Park (20pts) bt North Devon (8) by 33 runs.
Kelseymen 221-7 (DD Hawkings 73; R Ayres 4-28), North Molton 222-3 (R Ayres 118no, C Turner 63). North Molton (20pts) bt Kelseymen (3) by 7 wkts.
North Devon III 138 (D Pickard 75, S Meadowcroft 25; M Squire 3-18), Filleigh II 141-2 M Harrison-Hooton 72). Filleigh (20pts) bt North Devon (2) by 8 wkts.
Petrockstowe 201-8 (L Cockwill 40), Westleigh 177 (L Purkiss 75). Petrockstowe (20pts) bt Westleigh (8) by 24 runs.
Victoria Park II 141 (J Rowe 3-19, J Johnson 2-20), Barnstaple and Pilton III 142-5 (R Holm 60). Barnstaple and Pilton (20pts) bt Victoria Park (5) by 5 wkts.
Hatherleigh versus Bishop Nympton. No play, waterlogged pitch.