Alphington & Countess Wear another step closer to promotion | 'two wins from last four games should see us win the division as the teams below us all have to play each other' | Setback for SP&T | Barnstaple & Pilton out of bottom two | Sidmouth pull out a

Promotion this way! Alphington & Countess Wear captain James Bogue

ALPHINGTON & Countess Wear have the promotion prize in sight after beating North Devon 2nd XI by 98 runs in the Sandhills at Instow, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

That’s how skipper James Bogue sees the top-of-the-table picture where three teams are chasing two promotion places.

Alphington & Countess Wear (18.00pts) appear nailed-on for one of the promotion slots with Uplyme & Lyme Regis (16.50) and North Devon (14.92) shoulder to shoulder chasing the runners-up slot.

North Devon are not out of it yet, despite losing to A&CW, but Uplyme are on a five-match winning run and seem to have the momentum to take them through to promotion.

Although Alphington & Countess Wear are not up yet, but captain Bogue can see the finishing line.

“I think two wins from last four games should see us win the division as the teams below us all have to play each other,” said Bogue.

“Played some of our best cricket against a strong North Devon 2nd XI and need to carry those standards into last four games.”

Opener Mark Halse set the tone for A&CE by striking 90 and his stand of 143 for the third wicket with skipper James Bogue (60) sped them towards a total of 219 for six.

Veteran Rob Ayre (3-44) was North Devon’s primary wicket taker.

Jay Rothery opened up with 41 off 29 balls and no one managed any more than him in the North Devon reply.

Three wickets each for Richard Reardon (3-28), Dylan Spicer (3-16) and Mark Halse (3-16) meant North Devon’s batters could never settle and they were all out for 121 with more than 13 overs to go.

SAMPFORD Peverell & Tiverton’s hopes of promotion from the D Division East suffered a setback when Chardstock defeated them by six wickets.

Alphington & Countess Wear are as good as up already leaving one of Uplyme & Lyme Regis (16.50pts), North Devon 2nd XI (14.92) or Sampford Peverell & Tiverton (14.36) to squabble over the runners-up spot.

Uplyme’s win over Kentisbeare did not help the SP&T cause as it allowed the Dorset side to pull a little further ahead.

With North Devon and Uplyme still to play there is time for SP&T to force their way back into the reckoning, providing they don’t lose.

Opener Tom Lock (87) and Lee Hooper (76) at second wicket down put on 134 for SP&T in their 232 for five in a 38-over match.

Chardstock chased down the total with exactly five overs to spare on the back of an unbeaten 139 from opener Rob Hutchings and a half-century by Richard Pyman.

CLYST Hydon went down by 59 runs to a Barnstaple & Pilton side determined to stave-off relegation.

The North Devon side looked down and out at the halfway stage of the season as they had not won a game. Three wins in five games since have turned their season round and now they are out of the bottom two.

A stand of 63 between James Poole (39) and Andy Fewings (55) underpinned a B&P total of 161 all out.

Pick of the bowlers for Hydon with four for 17 was Tom Pettit.

Opener Ian Sutton (35) was the only one of the Hydon top five to make more than 20, which was the main reason they did not win. It needed more than a sprinkling of 17s, 15s and dozens to do that.

Hydon collapsed from 76 for three to 84 for seven and on to 102 all out as Roe (2-26) and Joe Hastie (5-15) got stuck into the middle and lower order.

KENTISBEARE skipper Tom Martin remains optimistic his side can dodge the drop into the E Division, even though their situation seems dire.

Five defeats in July, the latest a seven-wicket reversal at the hand of Uplyme, have left Kents (7.58pts) propping up the D East table. They have to get past Sidmouth (8.72) and Barnstaple & Pilton (9.25) to reach safety.

Martin agrees avoiding the drop is a tall order, but has not run up the white flag yet.

“We believe we can stay up,” said Martin.

“We have got a tough game next against leaders Alphington & Countess Wear, but if we can just get a couple of wins from somewhere out of the next four you never know. 

“We know we've not been good enough all year and have been well beaten in a lot of games. In the close ones we've just not had the cutting edge to see it home. 

“A win or two will give us something to smile about towards the end of the season and, ultimately, what will be will be.”

Harvey Sanders (26), Paul Tatton (22) and the patient Ed Halse (47) were Kents’ top run makers in their 169 all out against Uplyme.

Uplyme lost opener Mark Batey in the first over down from Marcus Busch, which was pretty well as good as it got for Kents.

Andy Harrison (31), Sam Farrow (78) and Tyler Wellman (27no) had the job done with more than 19 overs to go.

SIDMOUTH 3rd XI pulled-out of their game against Feniton due to team-raising problems.