North Devon captain Barney Huxtable does not believe the 39-run defeat by Exmouth has critically damaged his side’s Premier Division title chances.

Exmouth upped the tempo in the last 10 overs to reach 231 for seven – Trevor Anning (45) and Marquis Clarke (33) doing most of the work.

North Devon cruised to 103 for three in reply, stumbled from 133 for five to 140 for eight and despite Josh King’s crash-bang 51 off 23 balls were unable to repair the damage.

Alvin Pollard (3-40) prised out the stragglers as North Devon were dismissed for 192.

Defeat drops North Devon down to third in the table, 21 points behind Torquay.

Huxtable said he saw it as a setback but not a terminal one.

“I am not too worried yet as I still think whoever wins the division will lose three or four games,” said Huxtable.

“Bob Dawson batted well for 40 and settled the ship for Exmouth to get them to 230-odd.

“We dug in and batted really well at the start, showing great grit, but Callum French threw it away, Tom Ansell and Max Curtis the same.

“Exmouth showed their experience and were very patient.

“Josh King’s cameo at the end was the best innings I’ve seen him play and nearly won us the game, although it was probably a little too late.

“All in all there were lots of positives to take from the game.”

Exmouth got to 73 for one – Gary Chappell the leading run getter with 40 – then lost three wickets for seven runs as King (3-52) and Tom Allin got to work.

Dawson (40) and Richard Baggs (16) put on 41 to stop the rot then Dawson and Anning added 43 to raise the pace.

Clarke (23) and Anning added 52 in eight overs before wickets fell in the latter stages.

North Devon were sitting pretty at 93 for one with French (44), Ansell (35) and Curtis (30) responsible for getting them there.

Then it all went wrong. Wickets fell to Chappell (3-26), David Lye (2-35) and one each for Clarke and Pollard as North Devon free-falled to 140 for eight.

King raised spirits if not expectations with 51 off 23 balls with nine fours and a six. He was last out as Pollard mopped up.

North Devon will hope to bounce back against Plymouth at Mount Wise this Saturday.

North Devon second XI travelled a man short to Exmouth, where they lost by eight wickets.

Exmouth had North Devon reeling at 19 for four – and the visitors did well to reach 96 all out. Ben Curtis made a top score of 24 after coming in at 46 for seven.

Fergus O’Donnell picked up a couple of Exmouth wickets, but with Finlay Marks batting through for an unbeaten 37 the home side won with more than 33 overs to spare.