Things continue to be tight at the top of Division One in the North Devon Cricket League with the top two both winners this week.
But reigning champions North Devon suffered the fourth defeat of their campaign and that probably signals the end of their challenge.
Bideford stay top of the Division One after a five wicket win at Newton Tracey.
Richard Screech scored just under half the hostâ€™s runs with a fine knock of 60, but the star of the show with the ball was undoubtedly Paul Shepherd.
The left arm spinnerâ€™s first delivery was promptly despatched into an adjoining field! But the man who has worked his way into the 1st XI reckoning with a string of impressive outings for the 2nd XI then claimed a â€˜fiveferâ€™, going for only another five runs to finish with figures of 5-11 from 4.5 overs! Ian Hayter also picked up three wickets and the hosts were bowled out for 126.
Matt Allin (48) and James Ford (44) had the table toppers closing on a comfortable victory at 89-0 when a flurry of wickets were taken, with Screech finishing with 3-34 to sit tidily with his earlier runs. But Hayter and Mike Young saw Bideford over the line at 127-5.
Hatherleigh stay second after they won a thriller at Instow, beating North Devon by two wickets in a game that had two centurions.
Max Curtis (109) and Dan Pickard (94) put on 187 for the opening wicket for the home side, who then closed on 239-3. Robert Cockwill took 2-44 for Hatherleigh, who then timed the run chase to perfection thanks to a 101 knock from Simon Gillespie and a timely 39 from Jack Ashmore. Craig Overton took 2-42 for North Devon.
There was no play in the game at Creedy Park where Filleigh were due to face Sandford.
The Division Two programme was hit badly, with leaders Barnstaple and Piltonâ€™s home meeting with Lynton and Lynmouth called off, as was the game at Shobrooke Park, where Morebath were due to play.
They did play at Victoria Park, where Weare Giffard were beaten by a single wicket in a close encounter.
Billy Curtis (38) and Paul Tuson (33no) were the main run providers in the visitorsâ€™ 139-8. Dave Branch took 3-33 and Ricky Kelly had 2-23 for Victoria Park, who were then indebted to a fine 70 from Colin Bettis to lead them to only their second success of the season. Will Anderson chipped in with 20, but the hosts nearly made a pigâ€™s ear of it for they slipped from 137-5 to 138-9 before that man Branch swapped bowling duties for batting and, from the number 11 slot, scored the winning runs.
Division Three leaders Halberton had posted a healthy 251-6 and visiting Holsworthy were 27-0 after four overs and two balls when the weather at Samford Peverell closed in and left the game being abandoned.
John Chilcott (64), Richie Durrant (39no), Dan Coles (36) and Tom Sambrook (34) all chipped in for Halberton, while Ryan Walter claimed 3-39 for Holsworthy.
There was no action for either of Halbertonâ€™s nearest challengers, with second placed Bratton Fleming off at Bude and a similar story for Newton Tracey II at Filleigh II. North Devon climbed into third spot with a 26 run win at Bideford II, where they were led to 161-8 by a knock of 57 from Bob Heaman and 42 from Tom Stanton. Elliott Binns claimed 4-34 for Bideford and then top scored with 54, but only Jay Corden (24) also made runs as Simon Pomeroy took 5-28, leaving Bideford losing their last wicket on 135.
Two of the three Division Four games were played. The only casualty was the expected match of the day between the sides sitting first and second. But Belstoneâ€™s ground was unfit for play against visiting Petrockstowe.
Victoria Park II claimed a seven wicket win at North Molton.
Adam Crispin top scored with 28 for the hosts, who were bundled out for 84, with Tom Hayne claiming 3-3 and Paul Schiller taking 3-10. Steven Oliver then hit an unbeaten 48 as Park got home for the loss of just three wickets, all taken by James Tapp (3-28).
Westleigh followed their victory over table topping Belstone the week before with a 21 run home win over Braunton Kelsey.
Lee Farrant hit an unbeaten 36 to lead the hosts to 182. Luke Purkiss chipped in with 34 whilst Gary Gomez (3-11) and Callum Mitchell (3-44) were the principle wicket takers. Braunton Kelsey were then bowled out for 161, with only Alec Hodges (56) and Ian Roberts (35) making much progress as Luke Purkiss (3-19), Michael Merrick (2-29) and Andy Farrant (2-19) did the wicket taking.
There was a 122 run Division Five win for Barnstaple and Pilton III at Cheriton Fitzpaine in a contest played in almost incessant drizzle.
Martin Ash (56) and James Rowe (37) were the top scorers in a Barum total of 248-8, with the prized wicket of Brian Rowe claimed by Carl Steele for a duck! Mark Shear finished with the best Cherries bowling figures of 2-30.
Mike Foan then fell for a duck for the hosts, but 14-year old Red Evans, using a Foan bat, went on to strike a superb 56 and Jim Cutler chipped in with 23 as the Cherries were bowled out for 126. Nigel Rowe took 3-17 and Chris Newton bagged a brace for Barum.
Bideford (20pts) bt Newton Tracey (5) by 5 wkts.
Newton Tracey 126 (R Screech 60; P Shepherd 5-11, I Hayter 3-20), Bideford 127-5 (M Allin 48, J Ford 44; R Screech 3-34).
Hatherleigh (20ptsd) bt North Devon (8) by 2 wkts.
North Devon 239-3 (M Curtis 109, D Pickard 94; R Cockwill 2-44), Hatherleigh 240-8 (S Gillespie 101, J Ashmore 39; C Overton 2-42).
Sandford versus Filleigh. No play rain.
Victoria Park (20pts) bt Weare Giffard (10) by 1 wkt.
Weare Giffard 139-8 (B Curtis 38, P Tuson 33no; D Branch 3-33, R Kelley 2-23), Victoria Park 140-9 (C Bettis 70, W Anderson 20; G Jones 3-27).
Barnstaple and Pilton versus Lynton and Lynmouth. No play rain.
Shobrooke Park versus Morebath. No play rain.
North Devon II (20pts) bt Bideford II ((8) by 26 runs.
North Devon II 161-8 (B Heaman 57, T Stanton 42; E Binns 4-34), Bideford II 135 (E Binns 54, J Corden 24; S Pomeroy 5-28).
Halberton 251-6 (J Chilcott 64, R Durrant 39no, D Coles 36, T Sambrook 34; R Walter 3-39), Holsworthy 27-0. rsp. Match abandoned.
Bude versus Bratton Fleming. No play rain.
Filleigh II versus Newton Tracey II. No play rain.
Victoria Park II (20pts) bt North Molton (3) by 7 wkts
North Molton 84 (A Crispin 28; T Haynes 3-3, P Schiller 3-10), Victoria Park II 85-3 (S Oliver 48no; J Tapp 3-28).
Westleigh (20pts) bt Braunton Kelsey (8) by 21 runs..
Westleigh 182 (L Farrant 36no, L Purkiss 34; Gomes 3-11, C Mitchell 3-44), Braunton Kelsey 161 (A Hodges 56, I Roberts 35; L Purkiss 3-19, M Merrick 2-27, A Farrant 2-19).
Belstone versus Petrockstowe. No play rain.
Barnstaple and Pilton III (20pts) bt Cheriton Fitzpaine (2) by 122 runs.
Barnstaple and Pilton III 248-8 (M Ash 56, J Rowe 37; M Shear 2-30), Cheriton Fitzpaine 126 (R Evans 56, J Cutler 23; N Rowe 3-17, C Newton 2-21).
Nomansland versus Heathcoat II â€“ not received.
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