CULLOMPTON have opened up a 23-point lead at the top of the C Division East table thanks to a six-wicket win in the derby clash with Clyst Hydon.
Rumesh Batagodage top scored for Clyst Hydon with 42 in their total of 186 all out in the last of their 45 overs.
Skipper James Blackmore led the Cully chase with an unbeaten 84 – 14 fours, two sixes – as the runs were knocked off with 17 overs to go.
Hydon, who were second on Saturday morning, drop down to third in the table on 128 points. Feniton defeated Uplyme & Lyme Regis to grab second.
Blackmore said the first half of the season couldn’t have gone much better for his promotion-chasing side, but they still have plenty to do.
“We have won eight out of nine in the first half of the season and are where we want to be for now,” said Blackmore.
“There are a lot of games to come and points to play for – and many of the teams we will be playing will be stronger now their university boys are starting to come home.
“We have got Uplyme away this Saturday and I have no doubt they will be a lot stronger.”
Hydon were 37 for four after an early duffing up from Lee Nessling (2-24) and Jason Parr (2-23).
Batagodage and Clint Lewis made progress to 64 for five then Kev Sercombe (12) helped the score along to 110 for six when Batagodage went to James Vincent (2-8).
Tail-ender Paul Earnshaw (18), Steve Kirk (27) and Supin Sinharge (20) added 76 between them for the last three wickets.
Blackmore lost fellow opener Darren Paul on 38 and Jason Parr with the total on 44.
A stand of 136 between Blackmore and Brendon Parr (43no) settled the game as a contest.
“We knew we had to be patient and see off their two spinners, Lewis and Batagodage (2-44),” said Blackmore.
“Having done that I was always confident we would go on to win the game.”
Hydon skipper Ian Sutton said 186 all out was never going to be a winning total.
“Once again there were not enough runs from the top order - and once again the lower order got us out of trouble,” said Sutton.
“However 186 was always going to be tough to defend on a drying wicket.
“Credit where it's due: they are a good side and deserve to be where they are.”
COUNTESS Wear go into Saturday’s basement battle with Braunton boosted by a three-wicket win over Kilmington.
The Wear remain in the bottom three, but have cut the leeway between them and safety to seven points.
As Kilmington are the side they have to get ahead of in the first instance, it was a big win.
Skipper Tom Gooding top scored for Kilmington with 82 in a total of 174 all out.
Pick of the bowlers with five for 17 was Kav Dias.
The Wear got to 102 for three in reply with Dave Jarvis (49) holding it all together. By the time Jarvis was sixth out at 151 for six the game was as good as won.
Pick of the bowlers for Kilmington with four for 24 was Josh Short.
FENITON defeated Uplyme by 86 runs to move ahead of Clyst Hydon into second place behind Cullompton.
Alex Frankpitt went in at 50 for four and slammed 116 in a Feniton total of 259 for nine.
Surviving opener Mark Salter finished with 52 having shared a stand of 93 with Frankpitt for the fifth wicket.
Frankpitt – ninth out on 228 – hit 14 fours and four sixes from 93 balls faced.
Sam Wooster (4-28) took the bowling plaudits for Uplyme, who were summarily dispatched for 173.
Having reached 120 for three – Jed Whittington (30) and Laurie Thomas (46) the run getters – Uplyme slumped against Jamie Baker (4-27) and Chris May (3-42).
ALPHINGTON had a bit too much in all departments for Whimple, whom they defeated by 44 runs.
Opener Luke Phillips (4) was the only Alphington batter not to make double figures in their tally of 210 for eight.
Mark Halse had 44 and Tom Bath 36. Bath and Josiah Grzyb (19) put on 34 for the seventh wicket – the stand of the innings.
Leigh Lorenzen (3-30) had Whimple’s best bowling return.
Whimple ran into early trouble against Ben Newcombe (5-29) and t 68 for six an early finish was on the cards.
Dave Culshaw (42) and Matt Brown (46no) resisted and a finally tally of 166 all out earned four bating bonus points for the losers.
Alphington, who are 34 points behind leaders Cullompton, are away to Uplyme this Saturday.
BRAUNTON skipper Dan Brierley hasn’t run up the white flag yet, even though his team are in a dire position at the foot of the C Division East table.
Last Saturday’s nine-wicket reversal at Clyst St George was defeat number eight and left Braunton 44 points adrift at the bottom.
Braunton have a chance to cut the leeway this Saturday when fellow strugglers Countess Wear visit Kelsey.
Staying up looks a tall order, but Brierley remains optimistic.
“Our availability has improved so that we will be back to our best from this week,” said Brierley.
“There are positive vibes everywhere – we cannot wait.”
Braunton were bowled out for 107 at Clyst, for whom James Edworthy (4-15) did the damage.
Steve Bourke and Mike Johnson had two wickets each.
Andy Wood, who went in at 54 for five, top scored with 30.
Chris Ferro (33no) and Tim Read (49) got the chase started. Bourke (13no) was there with Ferro at the end.