EXETER are three points behind Sidmouth in second place after they dismantled Bovey Tracey by nine wickets.
Not for the first time this season the Bovey batting collapsed like a pack of cards, this time to 68 all out. Sidmouth rolled them for 65 in week two.
Veteran Jon Tipper (3-15) and ex-Somerset paceman Alfonso Thomas (1-10) were the wicket takers in a running total of 11 for three – and when Matt Golding chanced his arm against Blake Reed and lost the home side were 18 for four.
Tipper bagged Will Christophers lbw to make it 19 for five in the 12th over.
Rob Honeybul (11) and Toby Codd (18) detained Exeter in the field longer than they would have liked by blocking for all they were worth.
Dom Bess (3-22) broke the stand when he had Honeybul lbw, but Codd kept going for more than an hour.
Chris Bradley (21) and Codd added 32 for the ninth wicket, but from a starting point of 31 for eight that wasn’t much to shout about.
Exeter wobbled at first as Rob Holman then reed went cheaply. Hugo Whitlock (2-14) bowled Tom Lammonby to leave Exeter 28 for three.
By the time Sam Hickinbottom bowled Alex Barrow for 36, the target was four to win.
Thomas hit the winning boundary with Miles Lenygon (17) the not-out batter at the other end.
Winning captain Lenygon said he was looking for a performance after an iffy run and got it.
We've been below par in our last couple of games so I was very pleased with the way the boys responded,” said Lenygon.
“The pitch was very slow but Thomas and Tipper up top were outstanding, and the bowlers after them and the fielders backed them up.”
Hickinbottom said his side were ‘outplayed’ and could have done little to alter the outcome.
“The wicket was inconsistent, Exeter had the bowlers to exploit that and, as a result, we never got started,” said Hickinbottm.
“We could have worked a bit harder to get to a score as there were a few loose shots.
“Exeter look a strong, all-round side and I expect them to be challenging for the title this year.”