By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
HEATHCOAT got their pre-season programme off to a winning start when they crushed North Devon by 121 runs in the Sandhills at Instow.
Heathcoat trotted along to 212 for four in their 40 overs with Liam Lewis top scoring on 66.
Lewis was in typically rumbustious mood as he smacked six fours and two sixes during a 51-minute stay.
Openers Pete Randerson (47) and Toby Lochead (42) hoisted 83 to get the digital scoreboard at Instow flashing.
Randerson and Lewis have both featured in Devon sides in the past and their early season form is bound to draw attention to them again.
North Devon found wickets hard to come by, although young seamer Jack Moore (0-26) and Fred King (1-21) kept the runs below five an over when they were operating.
North Devon made a disastrous start when opener James Tyson was caught behind off Tom Reynolds to the first ball of the innings.
Bits and pieces from Dan Bowser (12), Ben Howe (11) and Moore (25) got North Devon up to 61 for two in reply.
Howe’s demise, caught behind off Jamie Drew (2-7) was quickly followed my Moore’s departure as 61 for two became 70 for five.
No one in the bottom half of the North Devon batting order made more than six as Christian Cabburn scooped four wickets for six runs as the home side slid to 90 all out with more than 16 overs un-bowled.
For Heathcoat skipper Randerson is was a workmanlike and enjoyable way to kick-start the campaign.
“It was so good to be back with friends playing sport and the win was a very pleasant start to the season,” said Randerson.
“We batted with control and set a platform that we made the most of.
“Then it was great to see our young lads take control with the ball.”
Tom Popham, the North Devon captain, said there was a ‘rusty’ look to his side, not that he was that surprised.
“We dropped a few catches and were a bit impatient with the bat, which can happen when you haven't played any cricket for a while, but as a unit we bowled okay,” said Popham.
“Next game we've got to improve of these things, but what really matters is how we are against Seaton in our first league match.”
Heathcoat are at home to Werrington this Saturday in a second warm-up fixture. The 2nd XI is due to visit North Devon to play their counterparts.
North Devon 1st XI will be at home to Braunton on Sunday.
[O] HEATHCOAT have completed the paperwork to bring Aussie spinner Shea Gribben to the UK for the Tolchards DCL season ahead.
Gribben, a spin bowler, plays for the St Kilda club in Melbourne. He holds a UK passport.
Heathcoat had hoped Gribben would feature in their Premier Division side last season, but Covid-19 put paid to that.