It's Heathcoat's title with a game to spare after win over Bovey Tracey

Heathcoat about to start the celebrations after clinching the Premier Division title

HEATHCOAT clinched their first Tolchards Devon League Premier Division title when they defeated relegation worriers Bovey Tracey by 42 runs.

Heathcoat went into the game knowing they only needed one point – 50 runs or two wickets – to take the title so it was almost a foregone conclusion.

After a wobbly start – Heathcoat were 36 for three – skipper Jackson Thompson and former captain Liam Lewis took the total past 50 to earn the desired point.

Bovey, fighting hard to stay out of the bottom two, still had plenty to play for, even if it was job done for Heathcoat.

Toby Codd (3-32) and Freddie Ford (2-47) chipped away at the early and middle order, collecting bonus points as they went reducing Heathcoat to 77 for six.

Then Heathcoat showed their championship mettle as Tom Frankpitt (65), Malcolm Cloete (25) and Jamie Drew (17no) got them up to179 for seven.

Taylor Ingham-Hill (2-14) and Will Christophers knocked over the tail as Heathcoat were dismissed 14 balls early for 184.

Bovey slumped to an identical 36 for three in reply – Brian Chari in and out for 27 – then started to fight back through Abraham Kopparambil (30) and Lewis Hammett (24).

From a promising 91 for three in reply, Bovey faded to 93 for six and 119 for eight as Cloete (3-22) and Drew (3-46) paired down the middle order.

Codd (19no) and Ashley Treeby (15) took Bovey close to their final total of 142 all out.

Heathcoat were marked down before the season started as title contenders due to a recruiting campaign that brought Devon batsmen past and present Rob Holman and Dan Pyle to the club as well as Exmouth all-rounder Callum French.

Although Pyle had a quiet season, French and in particular Holman helped turn third place in 2018 into top dogs in 2019.

Heathcoat's Jack Menheneott  - 31 league wickets at 15.42 eachJackson Thompson, the title-winning Heathcoat captain, insisted there was far more to winning the Premier Division than just adding a couple of players to the roster.

“It truly was a team effort with some individual brilliance from Malcolm Cloete with his potent bowling, Rob Holman with his experience and runs, Pete Randerson with runs at the top, Liam Lewis and his important impetus in the middle order, Callum French with his all-round abilities, Jamie Drew’s miserly spells of bowling, Jack Menheneott spinning a web and taking important wickets and Christian Cabburn and his death bowling,” said Thompson.

“Overall, we showed great character and versatility to win games from various situations and scenarios. 

“Having a very strong second team meant there always was competition for places and this is healthy for any club. 

A special mention to our groundsman, Pete Woodman, our volunteers and committee for keeping us going and supporting our quest for glory in 2019.

“Winning the league means a lot to the club and it was evident with the euphoria and emotions flowing on Saturday night. 

“To see all the families, members and life long supporters of the club be there cheering us on was amazing. 

“When we set out in pre-season during April, we wanted to build a squad of players who played for each other and bought into our shared values, vision and goal. 

“We had challenges along the way but when we refocused on the shared values this resulted in a cohesive squad of players – first and second teams - who then performed collectively.”

BOVEY Tracey had plenty to celebrate despite losing to champions-elect Heathcoat.

Bovey’s target was as many points as possible towards their survival as a Premier team. Seven points earned means they only need four against Plymouth in this Saturday’s final round of fixtures to stay up.

Bovey are not secure yet, but skipper Toby Codd can see a route to safety.

“If you had offered us seven points before the game, we would have taken it,” said Codd. 

“However looking back, it was a game we could've won. 

“Our bowling and fielding was good throughout and we pushed Heathcoat to the very end. 

“Congratulations to Heathcoat for winning the league. They are undoubtedly the best side and are rightful winners. 

“We will hopefully finish the season on a this Saturday by beating Plymouth.”