Bovey safe for another season after win over Hatherleigh
THE pressure is finally off outgoing champions Bovey Tracey, whose eight-wicket win over Hatherleigh confirmed their Premier status for another year and consigned their rivals to the drop.
Going into the game there was a real danger Bovey could suffer the fate of two previous defending champions – relegation the following season.
Sidmouth did it in 1990 and Bovey went down in 2003 in identical circumstances.
Bovey supporters could afford to smile after seeing their side dismiss Hatherleigh for 136 – Toby Codd and Ashley Causey taking three wickets each,
And the grins were broader still once the run chase was completed in the 21stover.
“It is a massive relief for us,” said skipper Codd, who added: “We will be looking to finish strongly this week against North Devon.”
Victory puts Bovey 20 points above the drop spots with 20 points to play for. Sandford and Bradninch – the two teams vying to stay up – can’t get ahead of Bovey, whose have won two more games than both of them.
Opener Ryan Davies (24) was the only Hatherleigh batter in the top half of the order to make a significant score in a running total of 69 for seven.
Hatherleigh were glad of a stand of 5 between Dan Fogerty (35) and Craig Penberthy (18) for getting up to 136.
Bovey lost wickets at 57 and 102 on the way to victory. Sean Dalliston (42no) batted through, aided and abetted along the way by Josh Mailling (29), Abraham Kopparambil (25) and Minhaj Jalill (27).
For Hatherleigh it is back to the A Division a season after coming up, a little older and a little wiser about the ways and means of the top flight.
Mark Lake, the Hatherleigh captain, said lessons had been learned for another crack at Premier cricket.
“We have found it a big step but it definitely has not put us off,” said Lake.
“It has been a good learning experience and we will be tying our upmost to get back up there as soon as possible.
“To do better we need to find some top-order batsmen as runs have always been the real issue this year.
“On a number of occasions we have not given our bowlers much of a chance.”