Wickets - Ross Acton

HEATHCOAT did enough in a 10-run defeat at Bradninch to wriggle off the relegation hook in the Premier Division.

Peter Randerson’s side went into the final round of games five points clear of the drop zone and looking anxiously behind them at the games involving Torquay (173pts), Exeter (171), Paignton (170) and Plymouth (161).

Randerson knew Heathcoat could lose and still stay up if they maxed their bonus points and results elsewhere went their way.

Torquay lost badly at North Devon, Exeter beat Paignton in the final over and Plymouth won against Sidmouth.

Paignton go down with Torquay while Plymouth scrambled to safety along with Heathcoat and North Devon.

“What a day in the Devon Cricket League,” said a relieved Randerson.

“It wasn't pretty but we did what we needed too to get the job done.

“We will come back stronger next summer.”

For Bradninch it was the end of a season that exceeded all expectations in a second-place finish behind champions Bovey Tracey.

Bradninch were promoted back into the Premier Division this season after a break of four years and their aim was to consolidate more than anything else.

Compare and contrast with Paignton, who came up with Bradninch. They have gone straight back down.

Getting up and staying up are two totally different challenges. Five of the last six sides to reach the Premier Division have gone straight back down – including Paignton twice in 2015 and 2017.

Bradninch made 193 all out in the 46th of their 50 overs – Ross Acton holding the innings together with 71.

Matt Hodson and Gillam Crouch had three wickets each for Heathcoat, who were bowled out in reply for 183 with more than 18 overs to go.

Sam Smith (51) and Jackson Thompson (51) got Heathcoat off to an 80-run start, but there was no stand greater than 44 after that as the middle order faded away.

Gary Chappell took five for 25 to hasten Heathcoat’s demise.