Hatherleigh gave Exeter a run for their money before dipping to a 39-run defeat.

The Premier leaders posted 251 for seven on the County Ground – opener Ben Green making 119.

Green and Alex Barrow (33) gave Exeter an 84-run start, then Somerset staffer Green dragged the middle order along until he was sixth out at 230.

Hatherleigh’s front line seamers didn’t have much luck, but Mark Lake (2-52) and Tom Strawbridge (3-57) had some once the ball aged.

Exeter skipper Barrow was seriously rattled by how long it took to remove Hatherleigh batsman Gareth Tidball.

Although the top three’s best effort was 22 by Danny Forrester before Green trapped him lbw, Tidball and Ryan Davies dug in and got on with it.

After Davies went for 28 the chase was taken on by Tidball. Stands of 40 here and 30 there with the bottom half of the order nibbled away at the deficit.

Green (4-31) had overs left and back he came to have a crack at the tail-enders. Two went in quick succession.

Tidball and last man Sean Letheren had a tall order of making 46 to win and it proved too many. Tidball was run out by Barrow trying to keep the strike.

Tidball made 80 off 113 balls and on a steamingly hot day only hit eight boundaries, which meant plenty of running in Hatherleigh’s total of 212 all out.

Hatherleigh skipper Lake felt his side had been competitive for most of the game and praised the bowlers for keeping Exeter to something realistic.

“I was pleased with how we stuck at with the ball and thought 251 was a lot less than they thought they were going to get,” sad Lake

“In the end we fell short but they are a quality side and if one other batsman had gone on we would have gone very close

“We were always just a couple of wickets too many down in the middle overs.

“Lots and lots of positives to take from the game. And great to see Gareth back among the runs after a poor run.”

Hatherleigh are away to North Devon in round 10 of 18 this Saturday.