Heathcoat moving in right direction at last after run of defeats

Optimistic - Peter Randerson
Optimistic - Peter Randerson

HEATHCOAT started the process of extracting themselves from the relegation mire when they beat North Devon by 92 runs.

Heathcoat had gone six games without a win in the top flight since beating Torquay by eight wickets over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

A win was long overdue but a minor frustration for Heathcoat skipper Peter Randerson was that fellow strugglers Plymouth won too.

As Plymouth defeated Exeter, another struggling side, and Paignton lost too, Heathcoat’s direction of travel is the right one.

They need to find 10 points to get past Exeter and have the perfect chance this Saturday when the sides square up on the County Ground.

As Plymouth are in action against Paignton, a big weekend looms for the sides in the bottom four.

Jack Dart showed a month in New Zealand watching rugby had done him no harm by hitting 114 on his return to the Heathcoat side in a hefty total of 295 for eight.

Dart went in after Randerson and Reid Mawdsley took the score up to 60 for two and batted through to the last over.

Along the way there were stands of 49 with Jackson Thompson (49), 103 with Sam Smith (47) and 51 with Toby Lochead.

Wicket taking was hard work for North Devon. Matt Westaway (1-35) and Josh King (1-43) kept the runs down for 10 overs each.

Tom Sturgess, the Cornish county player recently recruited by Heathcoat took to early wickets to put pressure on North Devon.

James Onley-Gregson (2-42) kept the pressure on as North Devon slumped to 45 for five.

The rot stopped with Ross Clayton (51) and Ed Yeo (91) who struck up 118 for the sixth wicket.

Yeo, who faced 63 balls, was the dominant partner and the one Heathcoat were glad to see the back of. His ability to score runs quickly is well known round the Premier Division.

The comeback was killed of completely by Matt Hodson, who pocketed Yeo and Clayton one after the other.

Hodson finished with four for 40 as North Devon subsided to 203 all out.

Relieved Heathcoat skipper Randerson felt his side got what they deserved for a good performance but must remember they are a long way from safety.

“We were considerably better than we have been since Torquay,” said Randerson.

“That being said we still have room for improvement if we want to do well in this division.

“Jack Dart was magnificent – a superb innings.

“I am looking to the next few weeks. Tim will tell how much my team want to win.”

A headache for Heathcoat and Randerson is the potential absence for the next few matches of century maker Dart.

Dart was in Devon’s side playing Wiltshire at Salisbury on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, in which he suffered a calf strain which limited his running between the wickets to a cross between a skip and a hobble.