Heathcoat could do with something special against Sidmouth this Saturday after a 16-run defeat by Torquay pushed them closer to the Devon Cricket League Premier Division drop zone.
Torquay’s decision to bat was justified by a 50-over total of 243 for nine – Matt Thompson top scoring on 65. Heathcoat made a decent attempt at chasing down the total, but 80 to win from the last 10 overs proved too many and they were all out for 227 with seven balls to go which drops them to third from bottom, five points ahead of Sandford.
Thompson was third out at 161 and put on 78 up front with Nick Watkin (30), 44 with Justin Yau (27) and 39 with Fahad Iqbal (41). Mitch Pugh (39) kept the board ticking over after Thompson went.
Jack Menheneott (3-40) just pipped Matt Hague (3-42) for Heathcoat’s bowling honours. Toby Lochead (47) led from the top for Heathcoat, who were handily placed approaching half way at 109 for two. Then it all went wrong in the space of nine balls.
Qassim Adams (11), Dan Powell (35) and Dylan Penberthy all fell to either Iqbal (3-32) or Pugh (2-47) as Heathcoat slumped to 109 for six. And when Jack Menheneott was run out on 124, Heathcoat’s cause looked hopeless. Ned Menheneott (38) had other ideas though and with Ben Pitkin (15), Jason Parr (19) and Jamie Drew (21) all chipping in the target came down.
Torquay were relieved to see the back of Drew – caught and bowled by Joe Thompson – who was last man out with seven balls to go.
Sidmouth opened up a whopping 26-point lead at the top of the table with a hefty nine-wicket win over defending champions Exmouth.
The margin of defeat came as a shock to skipper Will Murray not that he was complaining!
“Nine wickets and 22 points to none – that was a shock,” he said.
“Josh Bess and Scott Barlow have been bowling well all season and Dan Babula came up with some big wickets in Richard Baggs and Bob Dawson, showing what a good bowler he is becoming.
Exmouth's Bess (4-18), Barlow (2-18) and Babula (4-21) had Exmouth rocking at 26 for four then 41 for seven on their way to 62 all out. Losing Sandy Allen to the first ball down from Bess set the tone.
Former Exmouth all-rounder Liam Lewis was out second ball to Gary Chappell, but he was Sidmouth’s only casualty as Bess and Anthony Griffiths with a brace of 29 not outs saw Sidmouth home in 15 overs.
Sandford went to the County Ground where they suffered a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Exeter.
Pete Steer top scored for Sandford with 42 and Richard Tucker had 41 in a Sandford total of 232 for nine. After an early scare when Will Steward was dismissed in the third over for a duck, Exeter took their time and cruised to victory with nine balls to spare.
Sandford are five points behind Heathcoat in what’s becoming the scrabble to stay up with Torquay and Cornwood, whose predicament at the foot of the table wasn’t improved by a 73-run defeat by upwardly mobile North Devon.
North Devon have won three of their last four starts to rise up the table to third while Cornwood have not won since they turned over Sandford on the opening day of the season and are now 15 points adrift of safety at the bottom of the Premier table.
North Devon totalled 236 all out in the last of their 50 overs. Somerset’s Jamie Overton slammed 51 off 29 balls after coming in at 150 for five, to give North Devon some oomph in the last few overs.
A lot of the batting damage had already been done by then in stands constructed round Barney Huxtable’s 55 at the top of the order. Max Curtis and Tom Allin put on 40 after Huxtable went to Matt Skeemer and before Overton started getting on with it.
Cornwood were all out for 162 in reply and their leading batter was Jackson Thompson, who had 45 of the first 61 on the board. After Thompson went to Matt Westway to a catch on the boundary, Cornwood Overton hard to get away and didn’t get much change from Allin or Sam Witheridge either. Skipper Jason Hall (27) and Elliot Staddon did put up 43 for the eighth wicket, but by then the game had gone.
Once Hall fell to Overton the Somerset paceman only needed a couple of balls to mop up the tail and finish with figures of 5-14.
Plymouth are up to second in the Premier Division after beating Bovey Tracey by three wickets. The City side were looking for a comeback win after losing to Sidmouth seven days earlier and a century opening stand between Ben Stein and acting captain James Toms pointed them in the right direction.
Bovey were given a thorough duffing up early on by Dave Burke and Sam Stein with Rob Bennett chipping in. Plenty of batters got in, got a few and got out with Peter Bradley (23) and Andy Fairbairn (24) among them.
After Chris Bradley was sixth out at 91, a stand of 49 between Nathan Roberts (32) and Lewis Hammett gave Bovey some impetus. Hammett batted on to reach 47 off 71 balls and his stand of 73 with Sam Hickenbottom (31no) gave Plymouth a target to chase.
Stein was first out for 53 off 50 balls as Plymouth went in pursuit. Two balls later Toms was snared lbw by Matt Golding. Gianne Koopman and Hamish Gardner (48) whittled off another 29 then, after Jake Luffman came and went for a boundary, Gardner and Harry Stephenson (23) killed the game off with a stand of 59.
Rob Bennett applied the last rites with a brisk 11 not out at the end.