PAIGNTON have a slender lead over arch rivals Torquay at the top of the A Division after grinding out an 18-run win over visiting Bideford on their first visit to Queens Park since May 1986
George Benton helped dig Paignton out of a hole by swishing a brisk 44 down the order to get then up to 172 all out.
Paignton were 68 for five with Dan Wolf (32) long gone and Chris Kelmere just out for a second-ball duck.
Benton and Rob Shergold (15) added 35 for the seventh wicket, crucial in the context of a low-scoring game.
Another stand of 32 involving Benton and Justin Mann (29no) helped Paignton to their eventual total. Mann’s ninth-wicket stand of 30 with Stephen George was also critical.
Steve Bond (4-33) took out the Paignton top five and Jack Ford (3-30) mopped up at the end.
Bideford openers James Ford (76) and Tom Brend (29) made a sizeable dent in the deficit, wiping off the first 76 needed.
Ford batted on and on – he faced 122 balls and it 10 of them for four – but lacked back-up.
The game got away from Bideford when they went from 124 for four to 134 for eight, James Ford among them.
Jack Ford (16) hung around for a while, but once he fell to George (2-23) the end wasn’t far away.
Wolf and Cole Harford led the bowling effort for Paignton with three wickets each.
Richard Ashworth, the Paignton captain, said it was a game hard won on a tough track.
“The pitch was very flat and slow, tough for bowlers and batsman,” said Ashworth.
“We needed a bit more application with the bat as too many of us gave our wickets away.
“Dan Wolf got us off to a great start then George and Justin got us up to a score which we felt we could defend.
“The Bideford openers batted really well and put them in a great position at tea. “We knew a wicket or two could change the game.
“Dan Wolf and Cole Harford both bowled really important spells to break into their middle order.
“Stephen George bowled a really tight spell at the end and picked-up a couple of well deserved wickets.”
Paignton are at home to Plympton on Saturday.