BRADNINCH moved a massive step closer to winning the A Division title by handing out a six-wicket beating to Sandford in the mid-Devon derby at Kensham Park.
Richard Foan hit a top score of 40 for his current club against his old one as Sandford made 195 all out in the 46th of their 50 overs.
Half-centuries from Gary Chappell and Thom Bunker saw depleted Bradninch – no Hardy, Piper or Buzza in the top six – cruise home with more than three overs in hand.
Bradninch are now 49 points clear of second-placed Paignton at the top – and 58 ahead of third-placed Lewdown, who were embarrassingly beaten by 10 wickets at Plympton after being skittled for 18.
With 80 points left to play for in the last four games, Bradninch are closing fast on promotion as champions.
“We are pretty much there now,” said skipper Chappell. One more win will mean the division is won.”
Sandford didn’t score enough runs to make the chase that challenging, largely due to frugal bowling by Bradninch.
Adrian Small (30) and Russ Discombe (25) gave Sandford an 82 run start, then Matt Hopkins (38) and Foan took the score to 168 for four.
The problem was how long it took to make a score – Small faced 77 balls and Hopkins 63.
Cameron Suidgeest and Ross Acton were miserly with the new ball and Chappell (3-42) had the brake on in the middle.
After Foan went to Chappell the middle and lower order collapsed in a heap. The returning Acton (4-27) took four wickets in 13 balls to close out the innings.
Chappell (53) and Acton (46) made an 811-run dent in the deficit then Josh Cann (23) and Acton wiped off another 51.
By the time anchorman Acton was fourth out on 179, Bunker was well on his way to his 50.
Suidgeest was the other not out batsman when the winning post was passed.
Chappell said it was a good game to win considering he had four regulars missing in total.
“Other than a 10-15 over spell in the middle of the Sandford innings where they got away from us a bit, I felt we were in control of the match,” said Chappell.
“We were missing our key players including our whole middle order, which made the win even more encouraging.
“The guys given a chance took it. Thom Bunker played a superb innings after being in good form for the 2nd XI this year.”
Bradninch are away to Chudleigh this Saturday. Sandford entertain relegation worriers Hatherleigh, well aware they could be hauled into the drop scrap if they lose.