ALPHINGTON go into Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Cullompton on a high after walloping Clyst St George by eight wickets.
Clyst were all out for 120 with nearly 20 of their 45 overs unbowled – Alphas skipper Stuart Shaw spinning his way to figures of six for 26.
Alphington had the runs knocked off by the 31st over to move into second ahead of Feniton and within 21 points of Cully at the top.
Cully will stay top if they lose again on Saturday – lowly Uplyme beat them by one wicket last time out – but their safety net will have gone.
And in a division with only one promotion place and no play-offs this season due to looming league reorganisation, finishing second in worthless.
St George have slipped within seven points of the bottom three and need a win over Kilmington this Saturday to keep a safe distance ahead of Countess Wear.
Jayakrupakar Nallala (37) and Clyst skipper Chris Ferro (28) were the only top-five batters to survive an opening assault from Alphas’ paceman Josiah Grzyb (3-35).
Once Shaw got into the middle order the only score of note was made by Steve Bourke (27).
Shaw finished in a hurry with five wickets in eight balls and no runs conceded – starting with Bourke.
Mark Halse (34) and Al Davey (25) gave Alphas a 65-run start then perished close together.
Matt Taylor and Mark Porter with a pair of 22s saw the chase through.
CULLOMPTON skipper James Blackmore’s fears proved well founded as his table-topping side went down by one wicket to lowly Uplyme.
Blackmore warned before the game he expected certain sides to be stronger in the second half of the season as young players returned from their studies – and highlighted Uplyme in particular.
And so it came to pass with Cully’s all-out total of 148 not quite enough to stave off only the second defeat of the season for the divisional leaders.
Blackmore was not amused at being proved right though.
“Uplyme were stronger than when we first played them, however we should not have lost.
“We did not bat well and were 50-odd for five in 15 overs to a combination of loose shots, impatience and an unwillingness to scrape an innings together on an up-and-down pitch.
“The pitch was as predictable as the lottery results!
“Credit to Uplyme, they used the conditions well and deserved their wickets.”
Darren Paul (32) and Brendon Parr (39) were the leading run getters for Cully, aided by a staggering 52 extras.
“Brendon got a shooter and from there the innings fell away,” said Blackmore. “Seven ducks tells the story…”
John Whetlor (4-28) and Liam Gorfine (3-22) were the prime wicket takers for Uplyme.
Uplyme’s hopes of a romp to victory were shattered by losing three wickets in Jason Parr’s (4-8) first over – game on!
“At 60 for six we should have won this game, but too many short, wide and full balls let them get into the game and ultimately get over the line with seven needed by the last pair,” said Blackmore.
“We are guilty at times of searching for wickets instead of maintaining the usual line and lengths.”
CLYST Hydon will want to avoid a third straight defeat that could ruin their promotion prospects when they visit Feniton.
Hydon were knocked off the top by Cullompton two weeks ago and are now down to forth following a 29-run loss against Whimple.
The gap is 33 points and if it gets any wider Hydon will struggle to make it up.
Whimple, at home to ailing Braunton this week, are up to fifth just a couple of points behind Hydon.
Whimple were all out for 136. When Hydon went out to bat they were rolled for 107, handing Whimple victory by 29 runs.
Dave Culshaw top scored with 40 for Whimple and Leigh Lorenzen made 21. Last man Neil Maud made 16 – critical runs it turned out.
The wickets were shared with three for Will Thornton (3-21) and two each for Kev Sercombe and Rumesh Batagodage.
Clyst were battered from the word go by Maud (5-35) and Steve Hathaway (2-26), who reduced them to 34 for four.
Clinton Lewis (38) and Batagodage (16) staged a recovery of sorts that got Hydon up to 73 for five.
Lorenzen (3-17) dismissed Batagodage, the returning Maud accounted for Lewis and the lower order didn’t resist for long.
FENITON’S hit-and-miss season continued with a six-wicket defeat by Kilmington.
It all went wrong in the middle-order for Feniton, who were 160 for four with Chris May (60) going well and 185 all out.
Mark Salter made 29 opening up and there were chip-ins from Alex Frankpitt (20) and Jon Pyle (26).
Ben Fuzzard (4-28) and Josh Short (3-33) did the damage with the ball.
Kilmington had a wobbly start as openers Short and Brett Garner came and went for 19 on the board.
A stand of 154 between the Rockett brothers Alex (52) and Matt (98) killed the game as a contest.
May had thee for 41 from 5.4 overs.
Feniton are down to third in the latest table. Kilmington are up to sixth.
CALLUM Mitchell hit an unbeaten 60 as Braunton gave themselves fresh hope of beating off the threat of a second successive relegation.
Braunton, relegated from the B Division last season, have been propping up the C East since early May.
They had only won once before last Saturday when they defeated fellow relegation worriers Countess Wear by six wickets
Mark Johnson took five wickets for 13 runs, and Jon Baglow took a couple more, as the Wear were bowled out for 114. Take out Mark Davey’s 32 not out and there wasn’t much from the rest.
Braunton had a little wobble on the way – Kav Diaz (2-33) and Steve Holland (2-25) responsible – but Mitchell and Alex Hodges (19no) saw them safely over the hump.
Braunton are still bottom and 22 points shy of safety, but with eight games to go and some good news on the availability front they have renewed confidence they can stay up.
Iain Bond, the former Somerset apprentice and Devon fast bowler, made his seasonal bow against Countess Wear and has said he will be available regular from now on.
Upbeat skipper Dan Brierley said: “For the first time this season we got our full side out – and we won.
“Having Iain Bond back is a big bonus for us. If we can stay strong our results should improve.”
Baglow’s two wickets took the 42-year-old left-armer to milestone in the Devon League.
They were his 499th and 500th league wickets, mostly taken for Braunton but also for Westleigh and Torquay.
Braunton go to Whimple this Saturday looking for more of the same.
“We need another faultless display again,” said Brierley. “Our fielding was second to none.”
Brierley’s side could show as many as six changes, but the returns of Martin smith, Joe Barnes and Ed Holmes will counterbalance that.