Bideford skipper wants no slips + Abbots gunning for second promotion + Pens need to bounce back + Filleigh on a roll _ Shobrooke need to end losing run
BIDEFORD skipper Paul Heard is anxious to avoid any slip-ups when his side visit Shobooke Park.
A nine-wicket win over doomed Ottery St Mary last time out wasn’t a surprise but was, in some ways a bonus for the B Division leaders.
Second-placed Ipplepen lost at home to Filleigh and Tavistock behind them didn’t play.
So Bideford have gone from being five points clear of second place – now shared between Ipplepen and Abbotskerswell – to having a 19-point lead.
Shobrooke, who had a turn at the top earlier in the season, are playing to stay in contention having lost four on the trot and six of the last eight games.
Heard recognises his side’s good fortune last time out but knows a defeat by Shobrooke could let the chasers gain ground.
“Saturday's win over a struggling side was crucial when our rivals were more affected by the weather,” said Heard.
“We were clinical with bat and ball and it gives us momentum going into a tough run of games.
“Shobrooke are a strong outfit and our games are always tough.
“This division is unpredictable and we must continue to push if we want to gain promotion.”
Shobrooke will be looking to end a run of four straight defeats before it gets any worse.
“Bideford are the form team and to come away with the points we need to improve our bowling,” said Shobrooke skipper Chris Simpson.
Spinner Tom Youngman is back and James Goodman – a batter who bowls a bit – comes in.
FILLEIGH skipper Simon Prideaux wants to keep the winning streak going when out-of-sorts Seaton visit Deer Park.
Last Saturday’s two-wicket win over Ipplepen lifted Filleigh 16 points clear of the relegation places.
They are not safe yet but are moving in the right direction and Prideaux want to keep them on the same heading.
“We are on a run of three wins from the last four games and hoping that the confidence from last week can bring us a victory on Saturday.
“We've played Seaton a number of times over the years and it’s always been fairly even.
“We know we will need a good performance to beat them.”
Filleigh welcome back Ryan Bowden who was exhibiting a cow at the Mid-Devon Show last Saturday.
Batter Rob Collier returns subject to a fitness test.
And James Campbell is back to bowl his medium pace. Out go Olly Squire, James Marsh and James Hill.
Seaton are trying to avoid a fourth success defeat that could suck them into the relegation scrap.
“We haven’t performed for the past three weeks,” said skipper Ben Morgan.
“Individually we haven't been any where near where I know we can be.
“Having had strong words this week I am hoping we can turn a corner tomorrow to give us a bit of momentum going into the final five games.”
Chris Aplin and Steve Pritchard come in for Joe Berry and Elliot Driver..
IPPLEPEN make the short trip to Barton looking to bounce back from a defeat by Filleigh.
Filleigh chased to win with four balls to spare, helped by 25 wides and 33 extras in total.
“Hopefully, we can hit the right areas and cut down on the extras,” said skipper Sam Wakeham.
Callum King in for Joe Abbott and Steve Bowden replaces Ben Forsey.
“Callum has been scoring runs consistently recently and with Joe away it’s a great time to bring him up and see what he can do,” said Wakeham.
“Steve will offer us good control through the middle overs.”
Although Barton have had an up-down season ,Wakeham isn’t fooled by their lowly spot three off the bottom
“You never know what you’re going to get with Barton as they have players who can take the game away from you,” said Wakeham.
ABBOTSKERSWELL resume their promotion push with a trip to Thorverton.
Abbots are joint second in the table with Ipplepen after beating Shobrooke and in the running for a second successive promotion.
Thorverton have turned a corner in recent weeks and their second-bottom place isn’t fooling Abbots; skipper Charlie Hill.
“We know what Thorverton are capable of and they seem to be on a winning streak so we are expecting a tough game,” said Hill
“As long as we get the basics right as a team we will be in a good position come the end of the game.”
Veteran batter Paul Mitchell is out and in comes Tom Heath.
“Tom has been taking a lot of wickets in the 2nd XI so he comes in to boost our bowling attack,” said Hill.
ELSEWHERE in the B Division, Tavistock are away to Ottery St Mary