The Division 1 title race promises to go right down to the wire, with the decisive game of the season on September 9, when table toppers North Devon visit Newton Tracey.
At the weekend, North Devon bagged a comfortable four wicket win at home to Barnstaple and Pilton. The visitors batted first and closed on 131-9, Joe Johnson (29) and Rodney Bowden (27) the only Barum batsmen to prosper. Casey Elliot took 3-21 for the home side, who were led to victory by Luke Peterson (59) and Tom Ansell (22). Jack Popham took three of the North Devon wickets to fall.
The Barum defeat means that it’s a two-team battle with Braunton to avoid finishing bottom – both teams currently have a seven points average.
Filleigh retain an interest in the title after they won their penultimate game, beating hosts Sandford by three wickets in a thrilling contest at Creedy Park.
Sean Hawkins (49), Tom Sparrow (36) and Brian Leach (34) led Sandford to 254-7. Martin Brice claimed 3-30 for Filleigh, who were then led to victory by a splendid knock of 91 from Rob Collier helped by Simon Prideaux (48) and Jonathan Ralph (42), although it was not sealed until the second delivery of the final over.
Filleigh’s path to the title is based on them winning their final game next Sunday at home to Barnstaple and Pilton and then both Newton Tracey and North Devon slipping in their final matches. North Devon have two to play - away to Sandford and Newton Tracey - while Tracey have also to go to Bideford and host Barnstaple and Pilton.
Not a ball was bowled in the three scheduled Division Two games. Leaders Halberton need one win from their last two against Shebbear and Heathcoat to land the title.
Five for Phil
Phil Anning claimed a ‘fivefer’ in Division Three as leaders Shobrooke Park strengthened their grip on the top honour with a five wicket home win over Sandford II.
Nigel Ashplant top scored for the away side with 25 and Sean Fryatt then claimed three of the five Shobrooke wickets to fall in the home side’s successful run chase. The other game played in Division Three was at Bideford, where James Ford struck another century. He hit 106 from the opening slot to underpin the Bideford II 213-6. Kieran Soper claimed 2-36 for visiting Newton Tracey, who were then bowled out for 128, with only Graham Moore (60) providing resistance with the bat. Josh Stephenson finished with 3-5 from three overs for the hosts.
The game at Bratton Fleming was one of eight games cancelled owing to waterlogged pitches.
There was no play in either of the scheduled Division Four games and only one of three on the Division Five programme saw action. That was at Dulverton, where Victoria Park were beaten by 115 runs. Harry Harrison (81no), Steve Kelland (71) and Carl Hooper (51) led the hosts to 265-4 and then Jack Waterman (3-17) and Robert Dubery (3-26) bagged wickets as Victoria Park were bowled out for 140.
Barnstaple and Pilton 131-9 (J Johnson 29, R Bowden 27; C Elliot 3-21), North Devon 132-6 (L Peterson 59, T Ansell 22; J Popham 3-30). North Devon (20pts) bt Barnstaple and Pilton (6) by 4 wkts.
Sandford 254-7 (S Hawkins 49, T Sparrow 36, B Leach 34; M Brice 3-30), Filleigh 255-7 (R Collier 91, S Prideaux 48, J Ralph 42; R Discombe 2-50). Filleigh (20pts) bt Sandford (7) by 3 wkts.
Hatherleigh v Newton Tracey. No play, rain
Beaford v Shebbear. No play, rain.
Lynton and Lynmouth v Heathcoat. No play, rain.
Weare Giffard v Victoria Park. No play, rain.
Bideford II 213-6 (J Ford 106; K Soper 2-36), Newton Tracey II 128 (G Moore 60; J Stephenson 3-5). Bideford (20pts) bt Newton Tracey (4) by 85 runs.
Sandford II 109 (N Ashplant 25; P Anning 5-30), Shobrooke Park 110-5. Shobrooke Park (20pts) bt Sandford (5) by 5 wkts.
Bratton Fleming v North Devon II. No play, rain.
Barnstaple and Pilton II v Kelseymen. No play, rain.
Petrockstowe v Westleigh. No play, rain.
Dulverton 265-4 (H Harrison 81no, S Kelland 71, C Hooper 51), Victoria Park 150 (J Waterman 3-17, R Dubery 3-26). Dulverton (20pts) bt Victoria Park (4) by 115 runs.
Filleigh III v Bishop Nympton. No play, rain.
Nomansland v Hatherleigh II. No play, rain.