A MATT Hopkins century wasn’t quite enough to earn Sandford a win on the chase at Paignton.

Promotion-chasing Paignton made 268 for eight in 50 overs – Devon batsman Dan Wolf making a top score of 84.

Hopkins, who went in after nine balls when Russ Discombe was dismissed, led the chase with 105 off 119 balls and with three overs to go Sandford were favourites to win.

Hopkins got out, so did Ryan Glass, and a tight last over from Chris Kelmere meant Sandford only scored three of the seven needed to win and lost by three runs.

Paignton are now up to second in the table while Sandford drop back to fifth, 23 points short of a promotion place.

Paignton had labored early on against Jamie Palmer (1-25) and Peter Steer (1-21) before Ollie Higgs (37), Wolf and Kelmere (43) got going.

Higgs and Wolf put on 60 in a stand broken when Ryan Glass (4-64) had Higgs caught behind.

Kelmere and Wolf notched 92 for the fourth wicket in 13 overs before the latter was bowled by Richard Foan.

Kelmere was next to go – Hopkins ran him out – and skipper Richard Ashworth was in and out for three.

Rob Shergold batted with purpose at seven, making 44 off 23 balls as the Sandford bowlers started to flag.

“I thought we did well to make 268,” said Paignton skipper Richard Ashworth.

“Sandford bowled well up front and restricted us to just 82 after 25 overs.

“Chris and Dan batted excellently during the middle overs and set the platform for the guys coming in down the order to have a go.

“Rob Shergold played a great innings at the end, which helped us get up to a competitive score.”

Discombe’s second-over demise to Shergold (2-53) was only a blip for Sandford.

Opener Adrian Small (65) and Hopkins made a 117-run dent in the target.

Wolf trapped Small lbw, but the runs kept coming from Richard Foan (25) and Matt Theedom (38no).

Hopkins and Theedom got the score up to 256 for five with 15 balls to go and it looked a done deal. Then Hopkins got out.

Sandford needed seven off the last over from Kelmere, Theedom couldn’t get enough of the strike and when time was called the visitors were 265 for six.

Ashworth said the longer the game went on the more likely a Sandford win looked, until the last few deliveries.

“Sandford were almost faultless in their run chase,” said Ashworth.

“I don't think it was until the last three balls of that anyone realistically thought we were going to win.

“We took wickets at crucial times including a couple of runs out thanks to some laziness for their players.

“It was unlucky for them as they played some really good cricket throughout the day, but a great feeling for us.

“These are the games we have been loosing over the last three years.”