North Devon were back in the Sandhills for their first game of the Tolchards Devon Cricket League Premier.
North Devon skipper Barney Huxtable was keen to keep everyone’s feet on the ground following a seven-wicket win over visiting Sidmouth.
Although opener Matt Cooke made 109, the rest of the Sidmouth batting order barely managed that between them in a 50-over total of 224 for eight.
Matt Westaway had three wickets for 43 runs on his return to the side.
North Devon showed just how inadequate the total was by knocking off the runs with nearly five overs to spare.
North Devon’s new South African signing, Kyle Verreyenne, stroked a debut ton, backed up by half-centuries from Dan Bowser and Huxtable – glad to be back in the runs after a dismal second half in 2015.
Huxtable said it was a great start, but to win the league for the first time since 2011 is going to need more.
“We fielded fantastically, we bowled very well and Matt Westaway took three key wickets early on,” said Huxtable.
“Kyle is a serious cricketer and scored one of the best 100s I have seen at Instow in my time here.
“Dan Bowser also batted very well.
“However, we are a seam bowler light and, I think, unless we work a way of overcoming this, it will cause us problems in the future.”
Cooke was the anchorman for Sidmouth, batting though to the fall of the seventh wicket on 167 in the 44th over.
Along the way there were significant stands of 60 for the fourth wicket with James Gingell – and 81 for the fifth with Matt Hewer (23).
Former captain Will Murray (31no) and No.10 batter Nick Mansfield (13no) put on 47 in the last five overs.
Josh King (2-50) and Bowser (2-40) had two wickets each while off-spinner Verreyenne bowled 10 overs for 25 runs and got Gingell out.
North Devon started hesitantly – Tom Ansell and Max Curtis went cheaply – and at 19 for two Sidmouth were in the game.
A stand of 106 between Bowser (51) and Verreyenne set the tone for the rest of the chase.
When Bowser went at 125, Huxtable came in and matched Verreyenne run for run to clinch victory.
Verreyenne, who was 52 not out when Huxtable arrived, finished on 101 not out from 111 deliveries with nine fours, a six, and plenty of ones and twos.
Huxtable made 53 – one more than the South African during the time they were together.
It is Brixham away for North Devon this Saturday, a side with a point to prove after they were trounced by 10 wickets at Torquay.