Three-way promotion battle in A Division looks like going down to last round + Ashworth tots up a ton
TORQUAY took another step towards promotion back to the Premier Division when they walloped Budleigh Salterton by seven wickets.
Tom Oxland (55) and Trevor Anning (51) were Budleigh’s leading scorers in a total of 185 all out.
James Doble (20) put on 58 with Oxland and Ed Doble (25) supported his brother and Anning up to 121 for three.
Once Mitch Pugh (3-38) and Kazi Szymanski (3-31) were unleashed on the lower order, Budleigh’s last five wickets went for 24 runs.
Torquay were scratchy at first – Anning took out both openers in single figures – but from 28 for three onwards there was nothing for Budleigh to celebrate.
Skipper George Allen (89no) and Pugh (57no) put on 148 without mishap to wrap up victory with six overs to go.
The one-two-three at the top remains Torquay (276pts), Paignton (269) and Cornwood (258) with two matches to go.
If Torquay beat Plympton on the Recreation Ground this Saturday they will avoid going into the last-day clash with Cornwood needing a win to be sure of going up.
PAIGNTON carried way too much firepower for Brixham, who lost by 202 runs in the derby clash at Queens Park.
Dan Wolf (66) and Kevin Renecke (51) got Paignton up to 88 for two, then former skipper Richard Ashworth started to cut loose.
Ashworth went on to make an unbeaten 103 off 106 balls and put on 103 with Renecke then 79 with Luke Medlock (39). No Brixham bowler took more than one wicket.
Paignton skipper George Benton took five wickets for 30 runs as Brixham were all out in reply for 104.
Abdul Muzammil made 37, Richard Ward chipped in 24 and no one else made more than five.
What Benton started, Rory Medlock (2-32) and Cole Harford (2-9) finished.
Paignton have relegation worriers Chudleigh and Ivybridge to finish with, which means they still have some work to do to get back into the top flight at the first attempt.
“Chudleigh and Ivybridge will both put up a fight as they are scraping among themselves to stay in the division,: said Benton.
“But we are very confident of winning both games and keeping pressure on Torquay.
“It was a great win over Brixham and has really helped with the remaining games.
“We were strong in all aspects that game and showed why we should be a Premier team.”
Brixham opener Andy Pugh faces a summons from the league’s discipline panel having been reported by umpires Mark Davies and Jim Shellens for his behaviour following his dismissal by Benton.
CORNWOOD beat Ivybridge by 51 runs in a game both sides needed to win for different reasons.
Cornwood (258pts) could not afford a defeat as they chase top two Torquay (276) and Paignton (269) for the promotion places. Two dropped batting points left the Corns a little further behind than they were.
Ivybridge needed the points to gain ground on the clubs ahead of them as they fight to avoid being relegated.
Seven points wasn’t very many, but with fellow strugglers Chudleigh (115pts), Bideford (128) and Brixham (137) all losing, the Bridge (113) are no worse off than they were.
Ivybridge’s problem is they are almost out of time to find the 16 points needed to get out of the bottom two.
Cornwood struggled early on against James Bullock (3-27) and were rescued from a nervy 28 for three by opener Aaron Richards with a knock of 48.
Elliott Staddon (2) and Matt Butterworth (25) helped put a total of 157 on the board. Charles Kunje (3-23) was among the wickets late in the day.
Ivybridge slumped to 18 for three in reply – Matt Skeemer (2-21) taking two in two in the process – but made headway to 74 without further mishap thanks to Harvey Johnson (14) and Kunje (48).
Once Staddon broke the stand by dismissing Kunje, Ivybridge collapsed in a heap. Five wickets went for one run added and from 75 for eight it was downhill all the way to 106 all out.
Man of the moment for Cornwood was Staddon with six wickets for 15 runs.
Matt Skeemer, the Cornwood captain, felt it was inevitable points would be dropped once he had lost the toss.
“It was frustrating to lose the toss then be asked to bat first on a pitch where 250 was never going to be scored,” said Skeemer.
“That meant we were always likely to lose a bit of ground on the others.
“The game was looking like it could have been very close until Elliot Staddon bowled a brilliant spell that won us the game.”
For Ivybridge, who are 16 points adrift at the bottom, there is no more margin for error.
"We have got to win this Saturday and hope other results go our way," said skipper Harry Solomon.
ABBOTSKERSWELL looked destined for a fourth-place finish in the A Division after beating Bideford by 18 runs.
Abbots’ player-coach Nick Watkin – revelling in a chance to bat up the order – stroked 125 in the home side’s total of 231 all out.
Watkin went in first wicket down at after three balls, and was last man out with one ball to go.
Eddie Smout-Cooper (17), Sam Johnston (17) and Charlie Smout-Cooper (27) were Watkin’s supporting acts.
Bideford took wickets in pairs: two each for Jack Ford, Fred King, Cameron Atkinson and Jamie Lathwell.
Bideford looked on course at 195 for four after Tom Brend (33), Ollie Hannam (50), Alex Hannam (22) and James Ford (25) mounted a chanse.
Elliott Adams (3-19) had broken an opening stand of 111 between Brend and Ollie Hannam, but otherwise Bideford were on top.
The turning point was losing Paul Heard (17) and Alex Hannam to Noah Tobias and Watkin respectively as 195 five for four became 199 for six.
Tobias (4-33) got into the lower order as Bideford lost their last five wickets for 14 runs.
PLYMPTON’S young guns produced the goods in a 126-run win over relegation-haunted Chudleigh.
Teenagers Elliot Hamilton (44) and Jacob Caunter (56) were the top two run getters in Plympton’s tally of 235 all out.
Caunter (4-10) and left-armer Jonty Walliker (3-26) shared seven wickets between them as Plympton dismissed Chudleigh for 109 in reply.
James Degg and Ben Privett, two more youth graduates, had quieter games but have done their bit in the past this season.
Plympton are not going up or down this season, but the emergence of the youngsters is encouraging for skipper Craig Donohue when he peers into the future.
“They have been doing it on and off all year,” said Donohue.
“Deggy, Elliot and Ben are integral parts of the first team and with Jonty’s availability better things look good.”
Stands that mattered for Plympton were 56 for the fourth wicket between Andy Walter (32) and Justin Wubbeling (44) and 71 between Caunter (56) and Chris Dawe (30). Hamilton kept the board ticking over in between.
Chudleigh bowlers Adam Sercombe and Ed Foreman took three wickets each.
Chudleigh laboured to 23 for four in reply and 56 for six was not much of an improvement.
Rob Clarke (25) and Saqib Hasan (36no) put on 43 in a losing cause before Caunter put an end to their play time.
Said Donohue: “We scored 50 too many on that wicket and although Chudleigh never really attempted the chase I thought our bowlers did well and did what they had to do to bowl them out.
“It was great to see everyone chipping in with the bat and in the field all bowlers contributed.”