Bradninch may prioritise 2nd XI now promotion is won

BRADNINCH may make some tactical selections for the weekend ahead now the A Division title is in the bag.

Although there was an early finish against Hatherleigh last Saturday due to bad weather, Bradninch did enough to clinch the divisional title.

As there is nothing riding on the game against relegated Ipplepen this Saturday, Bradninch can put the 2nd XI first.

The 2nd XI have a crunch game against Sidmouth 3rd XI in the B Division 2nd XI East they need to win to be sure of staying out of the bottom three drops spots.

“As the 2nd XI are dicing with relegation we may need to strengthen them,” said 1st XI captain Gary Chappell.

“With our work done we can enjoy our last two league games.”

Budleigh Salterton hurtled to a run-rate win over relegated Ipplepen to stay hard behind Paignton in the battle for the second promotion place in the A Division.

Second place is a straight fight now between Paignton (222pts) and Budleigh Salterton (218).

Lewdown in fourth can only catch up if they play and win on the next two Saturdays and the two teams above them are rained off.

The last Saturday of the season throws up a likely winner-takes-all clash between Budleigh and Paignton at Ottermouth.

That could change this Saturday if Budleigh lose at Hatherleigh and Paignton win against Chudleigh to go 20 points or more clear. That’s promotion: job done.

Paignton captain Richard Ashworth has looked at the sums and come to his own conclusion.

“We're not thinking about Budleigh - two wins will take us up and that's what we're aiming for.

“The last game of the season should be an interesting affair.”

Ashworth, who has handed over to Justin Mann this week as he is not available, knows the Budleigh game is almost irrelevant if Paignton lose to Chudleigh.

“We obviously need to win this weekend to put ourselves in the best position for the last weekend,” he said.

“We back ourselves and we will be expecting to take 20 points, but we know that in this division that any thing can happen.

“Chudleigh will be a tough game they have surprised a few this year.”

Chudleigh are still under threat of relegation, although results elsewhere have helped them.

Barton’s defeat by Sandford and Hatherleigh’s rain-off against Bradninch kept Chudleigh 18 points clear of the drop.

Chudleigh captain Ed Foreman, whose side visit Paignton this Saturday, said: “ We are almost there thanks to Barton losing.”

David Wrench and Imran Ali Pasha both made half-centuries as Plympton totalled 228 for seven in a 43-over game.

After a break for rain the Chudleigh target came down to 154 in 29 overs – and they got nowhere near.

Chudleigh were 69 for six when the terminal downpour came in the 21st over, giving Plympton victory on run-rate.

SANDFORD effectively banished any fears of relegation from the A Division with a run-rate win over Barton.

Richard Foan hit a half-century and Matt Hopkins was five runs short of another as Sandford racked up 215 for seven in 49 overs.

Barton were 70 for three in the 22nd over when rain stopped play and were beaten on run-rate. The par score at that stage was 93 and Barton were 23 runs short.

Sandford now sit fifth in the table of ten, 29 points clear of Barton who are in the second relegation place.

Sandford should be 100 per cent safe this Saturday after their game against Lewdown is out of the way.