BRAD Barnes and Toby Lochead both scored half-centuries as Heathcoat cruised to a seven-wicket win over Exmouth.

Exmouth were all out for 163 in the 49th of their 50 overs – Sandy Allen top scoring with 51.

Heathcoat got to 99 without loss thanks to Lochead and Barnes – and there was no stopping them after that.

Victory leaves Heathcoat where they were before the latest round of fixtures, second in the table behind leaders Sidmouth.

The gap between them is 30 points, but with Sidmouth still to play this Saturday it is not unbridgeable.

Heathcoat have plenty to do to win a first Premier Division title, but skipper Barnes lives in hope.

“Our main objective is to win our remaining five games,” said Barnes.

‘Realistically, Sidmouth will have to lose twice in their final five if we are to have any chance.

“If we do beat them this weekend we will have to hope someone does us a favour.”

Exmouth are now 49 points off the pace and out of contention for all practical purposes.

Jamie Drew (4-42) and Dinesh Raheja (1-19) kept the runs down at the tof of the Exmouth order with Barnes 1-23 off 10) only increasing the pressure.

Exmouth were 54 for four when Callum French was bowled Raheza for 18.

Allen, who made his 51 in five minutes short of two hours, and skipper Richard Baggs (27) knocked up 65 for the fifth wicket.

Baggs was spun out by Jack Menheneott (2-34) and back came Drew to run through the lower order. Husnan Kazmi (24) was the only Exmouth batter to linger long.

After Lochead  (55) fell to Shorn Bobb (2-11), Barnes (63) took Heathcoat to the brink of victory. Pete Randerson (20no) knocked off the rest.

Said Barnes: “We bowled really well to restrict Exmouth to 163

“We went hard upfront with the new ball in our innings and it paid off for us.”

Heathcoat are at home to Sidmouth in Saturday’s big match.