Hatherleigh on the way back up after pushing Bideford closer to relegation

Job done - Hatherleigh captain Mark Lake

HATHERLEIGH stormed to promotion back to the Premier Division at the first attempt with a crushing nine-wicket win over Bideford.

Charlie Neilson bagged five Bideford wickets for 16 runs, and there were three for Ruben Forrester and two for Sean Leatheren, as Bideford were skittled out for 32.

The best score in the Bideford innings was eight extras. None of the batters made more than six.

Hatherleigh knocked off the runs for the loss of Rob Fishleigh for a top score of nine. Ryan Dennis and Gareth Tidball were both eight not out. There were eight extras.

Hatherleigh can’t be caught for a promotion place now as chasers Budleigh and Bradninch both lost.

There are four points between leaders Cornwood and Hatherleigh with one round to play against Plympton and relegated Ivybridge respectively.

Mark Lake, the Hatherleigh captain, made promotion a target back in April and has delivered on his word.

There have been ups and downs – 98 all out against Cornwood and failing to win against Barton after bowling them out for 111 – but overall the season panned out as planned.

“Since we lost to Barton, which was poor, we changed our approach and to win every game since then has been a great achievement,” said Lake. 

“We have been clinical in every department and no one has been able to live with us.”

While Lake’s only preoccupation now is whether Hatherleigh go up as champions, opposite number Paul Heard is trying to stop his side being relegated.

Losing to Hatherleigh left Bideford one off the bottom and in need of at least 12 points to get past Barton, who would have to lose to Abbotskerwell too.

Said Heard: “We have not been helping ourselves and need a serious amount of desire now in order to stay up. 

“We have shown no fight in the last couple of weeks and it's all on us to put the effort in.”

Bideford go to form side Tavistock on the last day.