Hatherleigh dropped back into the Premier Division bottom two after they lost by 135 runs to new leaders Sidmouth

Zak Bess clouted an unbeaten 101 – eight fours, three sixes – on his way to 101 not out off 95 balls in Sidmouth’s total of 262 for three.

Bess shared a stand of 69 with his skipper brother Luke Bess (56) and another of 134 unbroken with Aviwa Mgijima (62no).

Hatherleigh were all out for 122 in reply, no one making more than Gareth Tidball (39).

Once Tidball was sixth out on 105, the bottom half of the order apart from Mark Lake didn’t last long.

Wickets were shared among five bowlers – only Josh Bess missed out. Will Murray (3-16) was top of the list.

Hatherleigh have five games to get out and stay out if they want to stay up.

Losing to the leaders isn’t a disaster, but losing to fellow strugglers Sandford this Saturday and Bradninch on the next two match days might be.

“The next two weeks will define our season,” said Hatherleigh skipper Mark Lake.

“We just have to hold our hands up as we were outplayed in all departments.

“Sidmouth are by far and away the best, all-round team we have played this season.

“We bowled decently early on, but they still made it look very easy to get to a big total.

“And they gave us nothing with the ball at all, which made chasing nearly 280 very difficult.”