Alphington and Abbots pulling clear of chasing pack
BABBACOMBE’S stand-in captain Damon Calland made it three wins on the spin with a five-wicket victory at Bridestowe.
Skipper Steve Broad delegated responsibility to the former Barton and South Devon all-rounder to give himself a break
The arrangement worked well as Calland won again – and Broad top scored with 57, rescuing Babbacombe from 28 for four chasing a modest 138 to win.
“I am not around this weekend, but as we have generated some momentum let’s hope Damon can make it four out of four against Chagford,” said Broad.
Bridestowe were hustled out for 137 in the 44th over by Iraq Thomas (3-35) and Paul Bates (3-15), aided by Broad (2-28) and Tom Goodwin (2-21).
Phil Woods made 28 and Matt Dennis 23 for Bridestowe.
Babbacombe ran into trouble against Sam Ewen (2-29) and Chris Lavis (2-30) before Broad and Billy Allcock rescued the situation.
Broad gloved a catch to the keeper six runs short of victory, which made no difference to the outcome.
KINGBRIDGE cut it fine at Whitchurch where they won a low-scoring game by just one run.
Kingsbridge struggled to 132 all out in the 40th over - Bhanu De Silva digging in for 37 after going in at 44 for five.
Youngster Ollie Robinson made 11 batting at number nine which prove crucial in the grand scheme of things.
Charlie Barriball (4-26) took the early wickets for Whitchurch; Rob Bone (3-23) and Dan Poole (2-24) joined in later.
Whitchurch seemed on course at 99 for four having been given a start by Ben Hodge (22) and Barriball (36)
Spinner De Silva (4-29) put a spanner in the middle-order batting and at 103 for seven Whitcurch were wobbling.
James Westlake (3-20) accounted for Marc Kersweill and Poole as Whitchurch stumbled to 119 for nine.
Kingsbridge didn’t wrap it up straight away though as last pair Ben Powell and David Northey inched towards the target.
Whitchurch needed two to win when Westlake bowled Northey to clinch victory.
Sometimes you win ugly and Westlake can live with that.
“Our batting was disappointing as all but one gave their wicket away,” said Westlake.
“Not for the first time this season we pulled together and fielded well to back up some tight bowling.”
Kingsbridge, third in the table but 40 points shy of the play-offs, are at home to Stoke Gabriel this Saturday in a South Hams derby.
ABBOTSKERSWELL defeated Chelston & Kingskerswell by six wickets to stay hard on the heels of Alphington at the top of the table.
While Alphington were holding on to win at Stoke Gabriel in a sometimes fractious affair, Abbots were chasing 177 to win at Torre Valley North.
Chelston and Kingskerswell were 14 for three after an early going over from Riccardo Small-Boyce (4-51) but recovered as Lachlan Willaton (43) and Nick Guest (23) put on 70 for the third wicket.
Vivek Kulkarni added 39 and got C&KK up to 151 for seven before Small-Boyce had him caught behind.
Josh Hurrell’s 18 at the end topped the score up to 176 for nine.
Connor Adams (3-11 off nine) and Tom Heath (2-33) made life hard for the batters.
Abbots went off smartly with Mitchell (35) and Dom Durman (24) wiping off the first 50.
Alex Birt went in a 62 for two and batted through to the end for an unbeaten 60. Aron Owen (28) was with Birt for the last 71 runs. Birt is on 495 league runs for the season and his last four hits are 60, 48, 111 and 37.
Abbotskerswell trail Alphington by five runs in what looks increasingly like a two-horse race for the title. This Saturday they welcome Whitchurch.
Abbots’ skipper Charlie Hill said Chelston & KK looked a better side than their bottom-of-the-table position suggested at times, but added his side made life hard for themselves.
“Riccardo was firing on all cylinders which helped us at the start, then we took our foot off the gas after taking early wickets,” said Hill.
“It disappointing not to have bowled Chelston out as we have missed out on maximum points a few times this year because of that, but credit to them as they did well to get to 176.
“We need to be more ruthless when trying to bowl teams out as dropping the odd point here and there may prove costly come September
“Alex Birt again chipped in with the majority of the runs to see us home
“We are a happy to get the win and we just have to keep pushing forward taking every game as it comes.”
CHAGFORD are heading for a mid-table finish after moving clear of the drop slots thanks to a 76-run win over Plymouth CS&R.
Victory gives Chagford a 44-point safety margin which should be enough unless they suffer a total lack of form.
South African left-hander Kenton Vos thumped 14 fours and two sixes on his way to 103 in Chagford’s tally of 281 for nine.
Vos and 17-year-old Will Lammonby (73) plundered 154 together for the third wicket as Chagford reached 210 for three.
Ben Wilkinson (4-56) was the most successful of the Civil bowlers.
Six an over to win is a tall order when you are in the bottom two and Civil struggled to sustain it.
Dan Sanders made 75 off 113 balls as anchorman, opening up with Wilkinson and batting through to 171 for five.
There were lots of chip-ins – Winsor (24), Walker (22) and Sharp 27 – but nothing to worry Chagford unduly. Civil closed on 205 for eight.
Vos completed a good day’s work with four for 31 in off-spin mode. Derek Lammonby – 48 and still going strong – had two for 46.
STOKE Gabriel went down by 36 runs to leaders Alphington in a fiery game that went close to boiling over on a number of occasions.
Alphington are fully focused on getting promoted this season – and were not going to take any prisoners against a team that could trip them up.
Stoke needed a win to have any chance of catching the top two – Abbots are in the play-off spot – so were unlikely to take a backward step.
There where times when Stoke pair Nathan Hicks (78) and Seb Ansley (55) were batting when nerves started to fray.
Alphington’t total of 277 for eight looked a bit fragile for a while and the visitors were relieved to see the back of Hicks, Ansley and Neil Robinson, who was given out lbw for 50.
Mark Hulse – the former Chudleigh, Abbots and South Devon batsman now player-coach at Alphington – top scored with 74.
A solid batting effort included 59 from Alan Davey and 65 for Matt Taylor. Cheap wickets were hard to come by, although Jake Robinson’s three for 51 stood p well under scrutiny.
Stoke were all out for 241 in reply – Stuart Shaw taking three for 70 and Hulse four for seven at the end.
Alphington edged a little further away from Abbots, who dropped points at Chelston. The gap is now five.
Stoke are mid-table and the 46 points between them and second spot rules them out of the promotion race now.
“We will carry on playing to enjoy our cricket,” said skipper Jack Tolley.
Opposite number Stuart Shaw said he was relieved to get a banana skin out of the way.
"It was a massive 20 points for us on a day when we were not at our strongest and could easlily have slipped up," said Shaw.
"It got a bit feisty at time but we were able to play some good cricket to make sure we came out on top."