BRADNINCH kept the pressure on top two Bovey Tracey and Exmouth with a three-wicket win over Heathcoat that keeps them third in the Premier table.
Bovey are still top, despite losing to Exmouth, with Bradninch third. Sixteen points separate all three.
There’s pressure of a different kind on Heathcoat, who remain rock bottom, 16 points shy of safety.
Heathcoat’s batting only fired in fits and starts in a total of 135 all out.
Openers Toby Lochead and Pete Randerson missed out – Heathcoat were four for two – but Reid Mawdsley (32) and Jackson Thompson (36) staged a fightback.
A stand of 72 appeared to get Heathcoat going. Mawdsley’s demise to Gary Chappell (4-31) started a terminal slide.
Five wickets went for 13 runs added as 76 for two became 89 for seven. If Chappell didn’t get them, one of the Actons did.
Ross Acton took four for 46 and Chris had one for eight off five.
Matt Hodson (10) and Gill Crouch (11) resisted at the end, but Heathcoat’s 135 never looked enough.
Heathcoat skipper Pete Randerson made no effort to hide his disappointment.
“Our top order need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and start taking responsibility for the team,” said Randerson.
“Getting to 20 or 30 is not good enough at our level.
Bradninch were well on their way at 82 for two – Chappell (20) and Matt Foster (37) the sizeable contributors – but Heathcoat weren’t done yet.
Jack Menheneott (2-21) slowed Bradninch then Jamie Drew (3-31) applied some scoreboard pressure as 108 for four became 119 for seven.
Thom Bunker (15no) got most of the rest to get Bradninch over the line with nine overs in hand.
Winning captain Gary Chappell said: “It was another great win, especially considering we were without four key, first teamers, and we didn't play particularly well.
“We bowled well in patches but by no means as well as we have in previous games.
“Apart from the partnership between Mawdsley and Thompson, I felt we were in control all game.
“We had a slight wobble in the run chase but that can be put down to a bit of inexperience in the batting and missing the likes of Piper, Hardy and Buzza..”
Chappell will hope to have his missing players back for the home game against Torquay this Saturday.
For Heathcoat the season has to restart this Saturday with a win over fellow strugglers Plymouth. Any other result is a potential disaster in the survival stakes.
With North Devon and Exeter coming up – both closer to the bottom than the top –the season is at a turning point.
“The next four weeks are pretty important for us and we should be back at full strength and raring to go,” said skipper Randerson.
Randerson found on crumb of comfort in defeat.
“On the positive we bowled and fielded superbly – the best I've seen from us this year.”