The Stay In Devon North Devon League Division 1 title race was thrown wide open at the weekend following the first defeat of the season for North Devon.

Hatherleigh began the day second and ended it there, but the margin between themselves and leaders North Devon is now down to just 0.6 of a points average and the Instow men’s defeat also opens the door for both Filleigh and Newton Tracey to set up a four-team battle for the top honour this season.

North Devon were beaten by 28 runs by Hatherleigh.

Gareth Tidball (44) and Rob Murch (38) led the away side to 220-8. Rob Mann took 4-40 and Matt Westaway claimed 3-33.

Westaway then struck 45 in support of Dave Tribe who hit 55 and Barney Meadowcroft chipped in with 39 for North Devon, but wickets fell along the way and the reply closed on 194-7 to consign North Devon to their first defeat of the term.

Henry Bedford sent down a superb spell of nine overs that saw him take one wicket for a miserly 25 runs and Mark Lake took 2-44, both his wickets taken with the last two deliveries of the contest.

Match winner

Rob Gear served up a match-winning performance for Newton Tracey as they beat visiting Bideford by 83 runs to ignite their interest in the top honour.

Simon Gear (49) and Nick Parkin (58) put on 104 for the opening wicket and then Rob Gear struck an unbeaten 55 as Newton Tracey closed on 205-9. Fred King claimed 3-44 and there were a brace of wickets for Martin Steward (2-45) for the visitors.

Bideford were hit by an early Kieran Jerrett double strike and once James Ford departed for 24, bowled by Rob Gear, with the total on 64, and then Will Barrett fell to John Whormsley, also for 24, it was all downhill. Alan Withecombe tried to hold up the inevitable with a gritty knock of 21, but the reply ended with the final wicket falling on 122. Rob Gear took 4-27 and Jerrett finished with 3-35.

There was no action in Division Two, with Heathcoat’s game against Beaford giving way to the Knightshayes men’s Devon Senior Cup quarter final tie with Budleigh.

No play either at Victoria Park, where a waterlogged pitch prevented Weare Giffard from seeing action for the seventh time this term in eight outings owing to the weather!

First defeat

In Division Three, there was a first defeat of the season for Holsworthy, beaten by Sandford by 22 runs.

The game was switched to Creedy Park, owing to a waterlogged Holsworthy pitch. Ben Hancock (49), Luke Wright (40), Ashley Baker (31) and Ben Clements (29) combined to help the Mid Devon side to 229-9. Matthew Mansbridge (3-25) and Rob Mitchell (2-24) were the principle wicket takers.

Holsworthy replied with 207-9. Mansbridge and Sam Hockin both had knocks of 43, but it was Hancock (4-32), supported by Gary Abdul (2-45), who ensured that the table toppers lost their unbeaten record. They stay top with Shobrooke Park sitting second and Sandford third.

Bideford II were emphatic 140 run home winners over North Devon II.

Half centuries

There were half-centuries by both John Weeks (58) and Ben Brend (52) in a Bideford offering of 227-6. Simon Pomeroy took 2-11 in nine splendid overs for the visitors.

North Devon were then bundled out for just 87. Matt Curtner-Smith top scored with 23 as James Greenleaf (3-20) and 13-year-old Charlie Webb, who took 3-11 in six excellent overs, combined to great effect.

Tom Robotham (58) and Wayne Manning (47) led Kelseymen to only their second Division Four success of the season as they won by five wickets at Westleigh.

Captain’s part

Defeat was harsh on home skipper James Corry, who certainly propped his side up in the contest. Corry came to the middle at the fall of the sixth wicket with 15 overs remaining and promptly hit an unbeaten 64. Hector Christie, making his first appearance of the season, provided the next best score of 29. Charles Brigden (3-19), and Martyn Lewis (2-14) were the principle wicket takers.

Corry then took all but one of the Kelseymen wickets to fall in their successful run chase, finishing with figures of 4-20.

Filleigh II were beaten in a close encounter at home to North Molton.

Martin Brice top scored with 50 as Filleigh were bowled out for 147, thanks to Rob Ayre and Jack Read, who each claimed four wicket hauls. That was almost enough to win the game as North Molton edged home with just two wickets remaining with Jack Brazier bagging three wickets and Jack Wakeley two. Pete Davies top scored for the winners with 31.

Waterlogged

There was no play owing to waterlogged wickets at Barnstaple and Pilton II v Heathcoat II and also at Petrockstowe v Ilfracombe.

Two of the four Division Five games beat the weather.

They played at Bratton Fleming, where Barnstaple and Pilton were beaten by five wickets.

Matt Clark (19) and 25 extras made up the bulk of Barum’s 74 total, passed for the loss of just five wickets by the hosts. Joe Johnson claimed three wickets for Barum.

Ruben Forrester and Stephen Adams took three wickets each as Newton Tracey II were bowled out for 87 at Hatherleigh II. Scott Hayler the hit 37 to lead the hosts to a six wicket win.

There was no play possible at Nomansland v Filleigh III) or at Dulverton v Bishops Nympton, the latter denying the top two in the table the chance to go head-to-head.