North Devon had Heathcoat on the ropes but could not land the knockout punch and paid the price in a three-wicket defeat in the Premier North.

North Devon v Heathcoat in the Premier North. Picture: Matt SmartNorth Devon v Heathcoat in the Premier North. Picture: Matt Smart

North Devon’s total of 182 for nine was underpinned by Dan Bowser top scoring on 58 and support from Jack Moore (29), Tom Popham (30) and Jaz Kalsi (21) all chipping-in with middle-order scores.

The target looked well within Heathcoat’s reach while Rob Holman (42) and Peter Randerson were putting on 128 for the second wicket.

Things got more than a little tense on the chase as Heathcoat plunged from 140 for one, when skipper Randerson was dismissed for 79, to 156 for six and 167 for seven.

Ben Howe (3-42) was the bowler who did the damage. He took out Ed Butler and Liam Lewis with successive balls and was on a hat-trick when Matt Hague went in.

North Devon v Heathcoat in the Premier North. Picture: Matt SmartNorth Devon v Heathcoat in the Premier North. Picture: Matt Smart

Jamie Drew remained calm under pressure to see Heathcoat over the line three balls into the final over with an unbeaten 20.

Heathcoat were always favourites to beat a team who would have been in the next division down had it been a regular season – and had already won Premier North going into the game.

Tom Popham, the North Devon captain, felt the game would go down as one that got away.

“We battled back well after looking dead in the water at one stage, But that’s no surprise as we’ve got a huge amount of fight in our team which was pleasing to see,” said Popham.

North Devon v Heathcoat in the Premier North. Picture: Matt SmartNorth Devon v Heathcoat in the Premier North. Picture: Matt Smart

“Pete [Randerson] batted superbly, so credit to him for talking the game away from us early on.

“We were 15-to-20 short – myself and Bowser got out in quick succession – and had we batted for a few more overs we would had posted a more challenging total.

“Best of luck to Heathcoat in the play-offs.”