BOVEY Tracey lost for the first time this season when they slipped to a 64-run defeat against visiting North Devon.
It wasn’t a result Bovey would have wanted, but hardly unexpected as North Devon were unbeaten in their previous two games.
And it hasn’t done too much damage to Bovey’s prospects as chasers Exmouth lost to Exeter.
Pete Bradley’s team remain 23 points clear at the top with Heathcoat to play at home this Saturday.
North Devon made a very respectable 301 for seven at Bovey – Tom Popham (82) and Somerset’s England Lions’ star Jamie Overton (57) doing the damage.
Bovey were on course at 105 for one with 29 overs to go, Josh Mailling I the runs again, but all-rounder Overton had overs left and the had to contend with Matt Westaway and Devon seamer Josh King too.
Scoreboard pressure built as the run-rate slowed and Bovey were dismissed for 237 with 14 balls to go.
Ed Yeo, North Devon’s winning captain, said winning the toss on a scorching day was key to winning the game. Bowling tightly in the powerplays helped.
He added: “Tom Popham batted superbly and with Tom Ansell got us of to a great start.
“With wickets in hand we had the added bonus of Jamie Overton coming in to bat, on a wicket that got harder as the ball got old.
“Bovey got a great start but Steff James bowled an awesome spell along with Josh King and Westaway.
“Rikki Kelly came back for a second spell and continued from them which I was pleased because it's not easy opening up with the field restrictions.
“Bovey are probably the best rounded team we have played, they don’t carry anyone.
“It was a massive day for us and may they continue.”
The consolation for Bovey skipper Peter Bradley was his team didn’t play badly. North Devon with one of the Overton twins on board were better.
“You are always disappointed to loose, but it was going to happen at some stage and we didn't put in a bad performance,” said Bradley.
“North Devon’s openers batted very well, but on a very good batting deck, we felt we were controlling the scoring rate.
“Jamie coming in and scoring 57 of 34 balls is the big difference.
“Your average Premier batsman might score at 100 strike rate. That leaves north Devon with 270.
“That’s not an excuse. We love playing against the Overton's and any pro. That's why we play premier cricket; to test yourself against the best.
“We got of to a great start with the bat. Mailing is in great touch, then lost three quick wickets and our momentum was affected.
Losing wickets slowed us down and when Luke Jongwe got out we had to much to do, needing eight an over.
“We can learn from it, but also will forget about it and move on to next week in a positive manner.”
Popham and Tom Ansell (48) gave North Devon a 139-run start that was built on by Callum Hotham (23) and Overton in a stand of 63.
Shifting Overton didn’t help as King (25) and Stef James (27no) kept going.
Bovey’s bowling took some punishment with Toby Codd and Ryan Bougourd both in north of seven-an-over territory.
Mailling (74) and Bradley (36) took Bovey to 90 for none. Then the decline started. Wickets were shared in the top of the order. Overton (2-20) and Westaway (3-42) did for the resrt.
There were pockets of resistance – Jongwe made 26, Lewis Hammett 23 and tail-ender Ryan Bougourd 28 – but the game had long-since got away.