NORTH Devon s Premier Division title hopes are as good as over despite a three-wicket win over Exeter. For long-time leaders Sidmouth trounced Budleigh Salterton by 10 wickets and only need a point from their game against Plympton this Saturday to clinch

NORTH Devon's Premier Division title hopes are as good as over despite a three-wicket win over Exeter.

For long-time leaders Sidmouth trounced Budleigh Salterton by 10 wickets and only need a point from their game against Plympton this Saturday to clinch their third successive title.

North Devon cannot finish below second, whatever happens against Bradninch this Saturday.

Exeter made 180 all out in the last of their 50 overs - and only got that many thanks to their last pair of batsmen.

Tail-end Charlies Jon Tipper (45) and Adam Gribble (31) teamed up at 121 for nine and put on 59 for the last wicket.

Bowlingwise the damage was done by Matt Westaway and Rob Gear with four wickets each.

With bad weather in the air North Devon made an express start with Neil Bettis (34), Gear (21), Craig Overton (30) and Dan Bower (20) heaving the score up to 121 for three at halfway.

Three wickets then fell for five runs - Gribble (2-42) and Tipper (4-65) responsible - but Jamie Overton (34no) and Westaway (11) ensured there was no further collapse.

Defeat means Exeter will be relegated alongside Braunton, who were beaten by seven wickets at Paignton.

Paignton skipper Mike Pedley took four for 21 as Braunton were bowled out for a manageable 105.

A half-century from opener Seb Benton put Paignton well on course for victory.

Braunton limped to 36 for five then 45 for six as Pedley and youngster George Yates (3-28) got stuck in.

Braunton were 25 for three after 12 overs and the pressure of trying to make up lost time got to them.

Ian Roberts made 29 - he and Alex Hodges (14) put on 25 for the seventh wicket - but Braunton didn't have enough and both sides knew it.

Paignton openers Richard Cooper (17) and Benton (57) made a 56-run dent in the deficit.

Brad Rasool was out with one needed for victory when Jason Hayes bowled him for 23. A single hit from Yates wrapped things up.

* NORTH Devon 2nd XI didn't get far in their game at Instow, which started late and finished far too early.

Exeter were 93 for two from 24 of their 38 overs - Will Steward unbeaten on 35 - when the rain came down.

* A DIVISION 2nd XI champions Haherleigh lost for the first time this season when they were thrashed by 10 wickets at home to Barton.

Hatherleigh only had a handful of regular players available as holidays and 1st XI demands decimated the side.

Alex Hunt (4-11), Dan Camp (2-20) and Seb Powell with three for three at the end, shot Hatherleigh out for 35. Steve Doidge (13no) had the only double-figure scores.

Hunt (18no) and Dale Adderley (13no) knocked off the runs in just nine overs.

Hatherleigh's 1st XI game at Stoke Gabriel was called off without a ball being bowled.

Barnstaple, Bideford and Braunton 2nd XIs all had the afternoon off due to bad weather.

* NORTH Devon 3rd XI sit second in the E Division East table with a game to go, courtesy of a six-wicket win over Cullompton.

Left-armer Luke Ansell nabbed six wickets for 65 runs as Cully were held to 185 for seven. Joe Teape made 55.

Tom Stanton (65) and Matt Knapman (44) took North Devon to victory and a six-point lead over Uppotery with one game to go.

That game is a promotion decider against Uppotery this Saturday.