PAIGNTON are right back in the thick of the A Division promotion race, not that they were too far away from it anyway, after a three-wicket win over Hatherleigh lifted them up to second.
Hatherleigh scraped up 201 for eight in 50 overs at Queens Park – opener Matt Thomas making a patient 66 to hold things together.
Paignton were ominously 58 for four in reply, recovered to 134 for five thanks to Connor Bryan and Chris Kelmere and went on to win with an over to spare.
Man of the moment for Paignton was Chris Kelmere, who followed his three wickets for 28 runs with a match-winning 84 not out.
Paignton probably won’t catch leaders Bradninch for the title as they are 49 points behind with four games to go,
Lewdown and Budleigh all lost ground at the top behind Paignton after losing to Plympton and Barton respectively.
Only 11 points separate all three challengers for one spot and with Lewdown and Budleigh to play Paignton will have to win it the hard way.
While Paignton are playing Barton this Saturday, Lewdown and Budleigh square up in a 40-pointer.
In-form Thomas laid the foundations for Hatherleigh during a two-hour stay, assisted by Chris Jelley (29) in a stand of 73 for the second wicket.
Kelmere slowed the middle-order up and his spell helped reduce Hatherleigh from 128 for three to 150 for seven.
Rob Cockwell (28) and Ryan Davies (23no) moved the score along with a stand of 51 for the eighth wicket.
George Yates (0-29), Kelmere, Conor Ashworth (1-32) and Conor Bryan (1-11) were the pick of the bowlers.
Charlie Nielson (3-35) and Thomas (1-28) made life hard for the early Paignton batters, who didn’t get much change out of Jack Cherrington or Mark Lake either.
Kelmere took the safety first approach and in stands of 76 with Bryan (25) and 50 with Yates (17) took Paignton to victory.
Kelmere was captain for the first 10 games of the season, but handed over to Richard Ashworth to concentrate on playing without distractions.
In four hits since standing down Kelmere has scored 81, 43, 75 and 84 not out – so it seems to have done the trick.
Defeat dropped Hatheleigh into the bottom two, six point from safety.
Skipper Lake said he was disappointed with the result but not with the performance.
“Sometimes you have to just hold your hands up and Chris played really well and he was the difference,” said Lake.
“It's still all to play for and we will keep fighting until the end.”
It’s Sandford away next for Hatherleigh.