NORTH Devon proved they can live with the best of them on their day by taking a winning draw away from Exeter. The County Grounders have been in the top three or four all season while North Devon have been struggling to recapture the form that won the Pr
NORTH Devon proved they can live with the best of them on their day by taking a winning draw away from Exeter.The County Grounders have been in the top three or four all season while North Devon have been struggling to recapture the form that won the Premier title last season.But this was one game when the North Devon bowling attack came up trumps to slow Exeter's chase to 178 to win to a crawl at times.Mike Hedden, who got his 73 the hard way with just 22 in boundaries, top scored for North Devon in a tally of 177 for four. Stuart Rhodes, who partnered Hedden in stand of 84 for the third wicket, chipped in with 46. Exeter fell behind the clock almost from the word go and suffered as Marshall Hood made 37 slowly at the top of the order.Hood hung around until the fall of the fourth wicket when Hedden sent him back caught and bowled with the score on 104.Lanky left-hander Mike Wilkinson (47) and Richard Nelsey (26) got Exeter back in with a chance by adding 50 for the sixth wicket.Three overs out the target was 28 to win and Exeter threw the bat trying to get them. The tactic failed. Rob Gear (3-28) picked up wickets, forcing Exeter to shut up shop at the end and bat for a draw at 170 for eight.Back at Instow the honours went to Exeter in the mirror-image 2nd XI game.North Devon slumped to 11 for three early on, but recovered thanks to the efforts of two players at opposite ends of their careers.Devon U15 prospect Craig Overton hit 96 while veteran Bob Heaman made 53, in a stand of 123 for the fourth wicket that got North Devon off the hook,When Heaman got out the rescue act continued with Jamie Overton, who is Craig's twin, scoring 26 in a stand of 57 with his brother.Exeter shared the business of wicket taking between Adam Smith (2-52), Julian Fawkes (2-20) and Steve Milne (2-52).Shaun Langford (67) and James Street (67) appeared to have made it easy for Exeter by taking the score from 75 for two to 162 for three.Plain sailing it wasn't though - three wickets fell between 205 and 215 - and it was a relieved Exeter side that fell over the finish line in the penultimate over. James Parkin contributed 44 to the winners' total.Tom Cook (3-41) was the most successful North Devon bowlers.North Devon 1st XI are at home to Budleigh Salterton this Saturday. The 2nd XI make the reverse trip to Ottermouth.l Barnstaple's battle to dodge the drop continues on Saturday when they face fellow strugglers Plymouth CS. The 2nd XI are at home to the same club.