A Division news: Skeemer sanguine going into game against Tavistock

CORNWOOD skipper Matt Skeemer has not been rattled by last Saturday’s defeat against Hatherleigh.

The Corns lead at then top of the table over Hatherleigh has been trimmed to 14 points with Bradninch and Budleigh a further point each behind.

There is now unfinished business in what started to look like a job done in the promotion race. It starts at home to Tavistock tomorrow.

“We are still in a great position in the division so just need to play our best cricket until the end of the season and we should finish where we want to,” said Skeemer.

 “Tavistock have scored a lot of runs this year so we will need to be better with the ball and in the field than we were last week to get a win.”

Adam Goodliffe and Matt Tamsett come back into the side.

SECOND and fourth meet at Ottermouth where Budleigh (235pts) entertain Hatherleigh (237).

Hatherleigh have clambered the table from fourth in recent weeks by beating the teams above or around them.

Mark Lake, the captain, said this Saturday’s game at Budleigh is just the same.

“This Saturday will sort a lot of things out,” predicted Lake, who names an unchanged team.

Budleigh skipper Murrin said a win over Hatherleigh will strengthen his side’s promotion prospects no end.

“Looking to put into practice the hard work of the last two weeks and get a result that puts going up in our hands and not have to rely on other results,” said Murrin.

“It will be a tough match against a very good side who have been in serious form through the second half of the season. 

“Weather permitting, we are looking to put in our best performance as nothing else will do.”

Absent opener Mark Troman is replaced by Harry Parkin, who has been on song in the 2nd XI.

BRADNINCH go into their game with Abbotskerswell at Kensham Park well and truly back in the A Division promotion mix.

The Ninch won by two wickets at Barton last time out, which was the sort of battling response skipper Eliot Acton wanted to see after the previous week’s defeat by Hatherleigh.

The top four could not be much closer now as Hatherleigh (2nd) defeated long-time leaders Cornwood, whose advantage at the top is down to 14 points.

The two, three, four behind Cornwood (251pts) is Hatherleigh (237), Bradninch (236) and Budleigh Salterton (235).

Budleigh play Hatherleigh this Saturday, which has the potential to break the log-jam. Bradninch face Budleigh on the last day, which could be a promotion maker or breaker for both sides.

Acton has looked at the table, looked at the fixtures and come to a couple of conclusions.

“In our position we need a result in our favour over the next few weeks,” said Acton.

“More importantly, we need to worry about winning our next three games first.

“Abbotskerswell is a must-win game and as they have everything to play for at the other end of the table I am expecting a tough one.

“Our batting needs to be better than last week, but I am confident, with the pressure on, we'll come through.”

Batter Will Birley and Liam Reed come into the side for Kian Burns and veteran Paul Nott.

Abbotskerswell have unhappy memories of their last meeting with Bradninch, who rolled them over for 37. Ross Acton took six wickets; eight Abbots’ batters failed to score a run between them.

Nick Watkin, the Abbotskerswell captain, is an admirer of Bradninch and admitted his surprise they are not top of the table already.

“Bradninch were the team I expected to win this division due to the calibre of players such as Chappell, Acton and Piper so we know we are in for a very tough game,” said Watkin.

Abbots got moved away from the bottom two by beating Bideford last Saturday but are not out of the wood yet.

“It was great to get the win last week but still a long way from being safe and a lot of cricket left to play,” said Watkin.

Alex Birt comes in to replace Jay Hussain and Charlie Mitchell covers for Mark Gilmour. 

BIDEFORD’S skipper Paul Heard has spelled out what his side must to do to dodge the drop from the A Division.

Bideford’s safety margin in the A Division survival scrap has been cut to a point after they lost by 16 runs away to fellow strugglers Abbotskerswell.

Abbots went past Ivybridge and Bideford to fourth from bottom in a table with two drop spots. And they now have a 10-point safety margin, although that might not survive a run in of Bradninch (3rd), Budleigh Salterton (4th) before bottom side Barton on the last day.

Bideford are on 131 points, one more than Ivybridge, who are second from bottom. They visit Plympton tomorrow.

Said Heard: “Every game is crunch now, but who we play now means nothing as only results will save us.”

IVYBRIDGE have made three changes of personnel for the basement clash with Barton a Fillham Park.

Des Solomon comes back in as wicket keeper, batsman Sam Northmore comes in and all-rounder Chris Greenhouse comes in.

Barton (119pts) and Ivybridge (130) are the bottom two teams in the division.

If Barton lose they are as good as down. Ivybridge will still have work to do if they win – and a defeat will allow Barton to close the gap or even get ahead of them.

“It's a massive game and a must-win for us,” said Harry Solomon, the Ivybridge captain.

Derek Solomon, who is back behind the stumps for Ivybridge against Barton | www.ppauk.com