Foan believes title race is wide open after Sandford narrow gap on leaders

Lloyd Murrin - hit a half-century for Budleigh against Sandford
Lloyd Murrin - hit a half-century for Budleigh against Sandford

SANDFORD skipper Richard Foan believes the title race is back on in the A Division now his side have closed the gap on long-time leaders Hatherleigh.

While Sandford were easing to a 62-run win over Budleigh Salterton at Creedy Park, Hatherleigh were losing to Cornwood.

It was Hatherleigh’s first league defeat of the season and cuts their lead at the top to 18 points.

“It was another good win and the other results give us a good chance of catching Hatherleigh,” said Foan.

Paddy Rowe, the Australian U17 starlet who is back at Sandford for a second summer stint, hammered 91 not out in Sandford’s total of 293 for four.

Foan (54) and Neil Bettis (41) got Sandford off to a 94-run start then Rowe took over.

There were stands of 51 with Chris Jelley (27) and 76 with Matt Theedom (46) as the tally mounted.

Getting Theedom out didn’t slow things as Rowe and Tom Williams hoisted another 49 unbroken. Williams’ contribution? Five!

None of the Budleigh bowlers went for less than four an over. Luke Jefferson’s three wickets came at a cost of 77 runs.

“Everyone chipped in to post a substantial total,” said Foan.

“Paddy Rowe really showed what a class act he is and one to look out for in the future.”

No one could accuse Budleigh of not having a go – they went for it right to the end.

Critically, there were periods when Budleigh lost wickets in clusters and the chase inevitably slowed.

A running total of 58 for one became 76 for four with Matt Junk (49) one of the casualties.

Ben Phillips (56) got the score moving and had he batted on the outcome may have been different, or at least closer. He was one of the departees as 105 for four dipped to 138 for seven.

Budleigh regrouped again and with Phil Anning (26) and Lloyd Murrin (58) in fine fettle, 85 was added for the eighth wicket.

It was a decent effort in a losing cause. Budleigh were up with the asking rate but lacked wickets in hand for the last push.

Foan (2-23) broke the partnership and thereafter Budleigh slipped to 231 all out.