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Torquay in danger

Torquay slipped closer to the danger end of the Devon Cricket Premier Division when they went down by 54 runs to Exeter.

Rob Holman stroked 71 and Neal Prowse 59 as Exeter totted up 252 for seven. Torquay got to 135 for two and 160 for three in reply – Mitch Pugh and Fahad Iqbal among the runs – then caved in to 198 all out.

Prowse, the former Surrey youngster who has been quietly picking up runs and wickets all season, had 4-35 to send Torquay sliding to defeat. Torquay aren’t in the bottom two yet, but Cornwood’s win over Exmouth has cut the Seasiders safety margin to 12 points.

Miles Lenygon (32) and Zac Bess (47) got Exeter away to a 61-run start before veteran seamer Ian Baker split them up. Bess and Holman added another 53 before Nick Watkin broke them up.  Holman and Prowse in a stand of 91 took the game away from Torquay.

Jack Richardson finally removed his former Exeter team-mate, but at a price as that one wicket cost 84 runs. Torquay got to 135 for two with Matt Thompson (25), Iqbal and Pugh (25) all chipping in. Wickets started to fall – a run-out didn’t help – and when Iqbal went for 70 to Prowse the slide gathered pace. The last five wickets went for 17 runs – Tom Marrow (12) the only one in double figures.

Sandford were put to the sword by leaders Sidmouth in another one-sided affair at Creedy Park. Josh Bess made 61 – 10 fours and a six included – and Anthony Griffiths with 48 were the two main scores in Sidmouth’s impressive tally of 267 for eight.

Sandford were all out for 83 in reply with Russ Discombe (15) and Ryan Glass (25) and Steve Morish (12) the only batsmen to reach double figures, Bess (2-14), Charlie Miles (3-21) and Dan Babula (5-28) bowling Sandford out in just 27.3 overs.

Cornwood’s win over Exmouth means they are off the bottom of the table and Sandford have taken their place and looking increasingly likely to return to the A Division after a year away.

Ben Stein couldn’t have picked a better time to take the first hat-trick of his career as it earned Plymouth an unlikely four-run win over visiting Heathcoat. Plymouth skipper Matt Hooper had just about run out of ideas when he turned to off-spinner Stein as a bowling last resort.

The city side had made a below-par 206 all out – and Heathcoat were just about to knock them off. Heathcoat had six overs left to make six to win with three wickets intact – and former Plympton batsman Qassim Adams unbeaten on 122, becoming the first batsman to score three successive Premier Division centuries – against Exeter (126), Cornwood (132) and now Plymouth – since the league switched to 18-game seasons in 1999.

And one more ton will make him the first batter to score four in the same season since the same rule change. Adams has some competition there though as Sidmouth’s Liam Lewis now has three as well!

The over didn’t start well for Plymouth or Stein as his first ball was a wide, which appeared to make the job easier for Heathcoat.Stein’s next ball was a full-toss, which Thompson obligingly hit straight to James Toms.

As the batsmen had crossed while the ball was in the air, Lee Dixon faced the next delivery and poked it to Plymouth’s Gionne Koopman. Now it was game on. Last man Matt Hague on strike, five required to win and Stein on a hat-trick.

There was no messing about – Hague was bowled first ball and Plymouth had won to keep a tight grip in second place in the table behind leaders Sidmouth.

When Heathcoat were 169 for five with 12 overs to go, you wouldn’t have got good odds on Plymouth winning.

Plymouth were a bowler short – spinner Hooper was keeping wicket due to injuries to other players – and Adams was unbeaten on 102 having just completed his second successive league ton.

The great escape could yet become a reality for Cornwood after they beat defending champions Exmouth by 32 run to move off the bottom of the Premier Division. Cornwood still have work to do to get out of the second drop spot, but going past Sandford was a first step.

Jackson Thompson top scored for Cornwood with 97 in their total of 259 for seven. An opening stand of 77 with Ben Warren (37) pointed Cornwood in the right direction, then Mark Horwell (39) helped Thompson add another 92 for the second wicket.

Thompson had a ton in sight when he departed having hit 14 fours and two sixes in a run-a-ball 97. In the 14 overs left there was time for Aaron Richards (16) and Byron Langley (31) to add 48 in a hurry for the sixth wicket.

The pair were together for just six overs, but their stand proved crucial in the context of the game. Former Devon captain Bob Dawson (3-61) took some treatment near the end when Richards and Langley were getting on with it.

Thompson, who was captain for the day in the absence of Jason Hall, then found a way to keep a lid on Exmouth’s highly rated battling line up.

Opener Sandy Allen’s quickfire 46 hinted at the damage Exmouth could do, but runs were a problem from the other end where Thompson (4-31) was tying them down. When Seb Benton was seventh out at 135 for a long 32 off 64 balls, Exmouth looked out of it. They were nothing of the sort.

Gary Chappell (47) and Jamie Tapper (34) set about a partnership that added 72 fore the eighth wicket.

Cornwood were relieved to see the back of Tapper – caught Richards, bowled Staddon (2-41) – but Chappell hung around until the end when he was last man out on 227.

Malcolm Lake starred with bat and ball as Bovey Tracey overturned North Devon by 55 runs. Lake was out for 99 as Bovey Tracey made 220 for five in a rain-reduced 46-overs-a-side game.

North Devon were bowled out for 165 in reply with Lake and medium-pacer Ryan Bougourd taking three wickets each. Victory lifts Bovey into third place ahead of this Saturday’s meeting with Heathcoat.

Lake and Sam Wyatt-Haines (33) put on 68 for starters before a double strike by Tom Allin (2-41) saw Wyatt-Haines and next man in Peter Bradley go in the space of three balls. Lake and Matt Golding (45) stroked 124 for the third wicket, only for North Devon to take two wickets in two balls to slow things up.

Lake, who had hit 16 fours and a six, was caught at deep mid-on driving Sam Witheridge on the up. Nathan Roberts went next ball when he snicked Witheridge to the keeper. Golding was the last man out.

North Devon lost Neil Bettis and Ed Yeo to Ryan Bougourd by the time they reached 26, but recovered as Barney Huxtable (49) got going. Golding (2-22) got Huxtable out.

Somerset’s Jamie Overton provided some middle order acceleration with a run-a-ball 35, but when he fell to Nathan Roberts at 132 for five the bottom half of the order crumbled. There were wickets for Chris Bradley, Lake, Golding and Roberts as North Devon lost their last five wickets for 24