Heathcoat demolish North Devon en-route to title showdown with Exeter this Saturday
HEATHCOAT will be playing for their first Premier Division title when they face Exeter in the top of the table clash on the County Ground this Saturday.
There are two rounds of games to go this season and leaders Exeter go into them four points ahead of second-placed Heathcoat.
If Heathcoat win they will go top and set up a grandstand finale to the season on the last day.
Lose and they are going to be around 15 points behind Exeter, a margin they are unlikely to make up on the final day.
There may be pressure on Heathcoat, but it a type of pressure captain Peter Randerson can cope with.
“Everyone has been looking forward to this game all year - it's the stuff you dream about when the league season starts,” said Randerson.
“Exeter are a great team and have been hard to beat all summer.
“It's going to be a hard-fought game and the winners will probably win the league.
“We played some of the best cricket of the summer in the past two weeks and are all very much looking forward to this weekend.”
Heathcoat’s winning form continued when they defeated North Devon by 132 runs at Instow.
Jack Dart (57) and Peter Randerson (71) led the way for Heathcoat, who reached 271 for five with support from Malcolm Cloete (41) and Liam Lewis (26).
Lewis and Dart put on 77 for the second wicket after Reid Mawdsley was in and out for an unlucky 13.
Randerson and Cloete put on 96 for the fourth wicket, taking the score to 220.
Three wickets each for Jackson Thompson and Jack Menheott consigned North Devon to 139 all out and left them only 17 points away from the drop spots.
North Devon’s batting was shambolic at times. They lurched from 19 for four to 87 for eight, which was when Josh King went for 46.
Tail-enders Richard Screech (18) and Jack Hockin (32) made the score a little more respectable.
Matt Westaway, the North Devon captain, felt his side were partly the architects of their own misfortune.
“We dropped Jack Dart early on and he made us pay the price,” said Westaway. “You can't give good players a chance.”
Westaway said Heathcoat are a strong outfit and his soon found out why they have barely been out of the top three all season.
“They took early wickets, which chopped our legs out from underneath us,” he said.
Defeat left North Devon 17 points away from the relegation spots and in need of a win to be safe for another season. The chance to earn it comes along at North Devon this Saturday.
“We remain positive,” said Westaway. “The guys will continue to practice hard and I am sure someone in the team has a match-winning performance in them.”