Hatherleigh are in win-at-all-costs territory this Saturday when they host Bradninch.
Mark Lake’s men are at the foot of the table after their defeat by fellow strugglers Sandford last Saturday and have to get ahead of Bradninch to stay up.
The gap is 21 points now and another defeat could widen it to the mid-30s, which would take some clawing back in the final three games.
Sandford’s total of 264 for four was anchored by Faisal Iqbal, who went in at 12 for one and was still there at the end, unbeaten on 102.
Dan Fogerty (2-39) was the only Hatherleigh bowler to strike twice.
Hatherleigh kept going despite setbacks along the way – they were 137 for six at one stage – with Gareth Tidball driving them on.
Rob Fishleigh (36) made early runs then Tidball, in at 46 for three, shored up one end while wickets fell to Jamie Palmer (2-32) and Foan at the other.
A stand of 64 between Tidball (83) and Simon Gillespie (28) kept Hatherleigh in the game longer than looked likely.
Richard Foan spinning out Tidball was the beginning of the end and he took two more wickets to finish with five for 38 as Hatherleigh went from 201 for six to 219 all out.
Said Lake: “We bowled decently and kept Sandford to a par score on a very good wicket.
“Gareth batted really well but no one else got in and we were always behind the rate and could never catch up.”