BABBACOMBE are off the mark at last in the B Division after defeating Ipplepen by 99 runs at Walls Hill.
There is still some work to do to get Babbacombe out of the bottom two, but after five defeats in a row at least they are moving in the right direction.
And if Babbacombe are going to avoid a prompt return to the C Division West, new signing Steve Bowman may have a role to play about it.
All-rounder Bowman started the season in the A Division with Babbacombe, but requested a transfer three weeks in.
Bowman, who played in Worcester before emigrating to Devon, joined Abbotskerswell when he moved into the area four years ago. He now lives a six-hit away from Walls Hill and a move made sense.
If Saturday’s performance is anything to go by, Bowman’s arrival at Babbacombe could be serendipitous.
Bowman’s first job was to rescue Babbacombe from the depths of 19 for four after a battering from Benedict Forsey (3-89). A stand of 182 with Dean Peall took care of that crisis.
Peall fell for 96 to Keith Wakeham and Bowman followed soon after for exactly a hundred. He only faced 77 balls and hit 14 of them for four, and four more for six.
While Pens’ Steve Bowden (3-16) whittled away the lower order from one end, Andy McVeigh made 41 in a hurry as Babbacombe reached 286 all out.
Ipplepen got to 140 for three on the chase with Dave Harris (53), Mawgan Penrice (49) and Sam Wakeham (25) getting on with it.
Bowman hadn’t finished yet and when he removed Wakeham he put Ipplepen on he slide.
Paul Bates (4-35) got bit hitter Matt Quartley almost immediately –and after that Ipplepen went into a decline.
Bowman went on to take four for 38 as Pens slid to 187 all out.
THORVERTON pulled off what even skipper Andy Pitt must have thought was an unlikely victory when won by 28 runs at Shobrooke Park.
Pitt’s hopes would have been realistic after Thors were bowled out for 135 – Ben Slaverio making 35 down the order to rescue them from 97 for eight.
Shobrooke were in trouble from the get go at 20 for four, recovered to 97 for five, then lost five more wickets for 10 runs on the way to 107 all out. Jacob Broom (5-22) was the man of the moment for Thors.
Pitt described the game as two good bowling sides against two sides who batted poorly on the day.
He added: We didn't bat our overs again but it's going to be pretty tough when you lose three wickets in an over, but we got some kind of a score on the board.
“I told the guys at half way if we bowl as we did against Filleigh the first half of last week we'd be in with a chance and luckily we did.
“Jacob Broom set the tone and got a well deserved five-for.”
Pitt, Will Denford and first-baller George Greed all succumbed in an over from Craig James (3-21) that left Thorverton 16 for three at the end of it.
David Baldock (31) and Paul Fielder (19) affected some sort of recovery to get Thors up to 59 for four.
When Baldock was sixth out on 76 to Jon James, the second of his four wickets, the signs looked ominous for Thors.
Slaverio, with a nudge here and there from the tail-enders, got something potentially defendable on the board.
Broom and Pitt (2-9) reduced Shobrooke to 20 for four. Craig James (44) and Tom Youngman (22) took the running total of 97 for five.
Back came Broom for a three-wicket burst that helped consign Shobrooke to defeat.
Shobrooke stay third in the table while Thorverton have gone past Ipplepen and out of the bottom three.
Thorverton go to Plymstock this Saturday. Shobrooke are away to Ipplepen.
CULLOMPTON paid the price for not killing off Barton when they had the chance as they slid to a 105-run defeat at Cricketfield Road.
Barton recovered from 54 for five to make 215 for nine in the last of their 45 overs.
Jacob Diennes (3-20) led the early wicket-taking effort, which ended when Barton skipper Adam Parker was joined by Adam Last.
Parker made 71 off 86 balls – ten fours in there – and Last hit 58 off 79 in a stand of 110 for the sixth wicket.
Alex Clist removed Parker, but last and the tail kept going to add another 49 runs in the latter stages.
Cullompton were in a similar pickle at 45 for five – Jon Martin (3-19) and Matt Crampton (4-32) largely responsible – and when skipper James Blackmore (23) was sixth out at 70 the end looked nigh.
Josh Richards (21) and the tail kept Barton out longer than they expected, but the spin of Stuart Bowker (2-24) and the return of Martin and Crampton ensured Cully were all out for 110 with 10 overs to go.
Having surrendered top spot to Filleigh when they lost to Tavistock seven days earlier, it was just the result Barton captain Adam Parker wanted.
“It was good for us to get back on track with a good win,” said Parker.
“We had a bit of a wobble up top, but this season have found a way to rebuild an innings rather then get skittled cheaply.
“We bowled well and slowed their scoring down to build pressure and the wickets came.”
Cullompton are one place and two points clear of the relegation places going into Saturday’s home tussle with leaders Filleigh.
Skipper Blackmore said the game at Barton, who have personnel with Premiership and county -age group experience, showed what a learning curve his players are on.
“It was a valuable opportunity thrown away after we had them 54 for five,” said Blackmore.
“Adam Parker played well, as did Last, although we dropped him early in his innings.
“By contrast, too many of our lads threw their wickets away.
“If we are to survive in this division, we have to make sides fight for every one of our wickets.
“That experience only comes with time and understanding as the lads mature.
“I have to recognise a lot of these boys were playing in the F Division six seasons ago. They have come so far in such a short space of time.”
B DIVISION leaders Filleigh outgunned Plymstock in all departments en-route to an eight-wicket win at Deer Park.
After Plymstock openers Charlie Martin (34) and James Nicholls helped get the total up to 91 for two, Plymstock lost wickets on a regular basis.
Jon Hickman (2-19) was hard to score off during a nine-over spell and there was little change out of Ryan Bowden (1-16) either.
Plymstock got bogged down in the middle overs and were glad of a bright-and-breezy 25 off 13 balls by Syed Ali for moving the board along.
James Marsh (3-41) accounted for the Pymstock stragglers as they werte bowled out for 171 with more than five overs to bowl.
Filleigh got away to a 119-run start with openers Justin Saker (90) and Jas Kalsi leading the way.
Saker was spun out by Ian Whalley (2-35), who also claimed Rob Collier (17).
Kalsi kept going for 41 not out and was joined by Harley Ashdown (16no) at the end.
TAVISTOCK recovered from a shaky start to win by 128 runs at Seaton.
Seaton kept the lid on Tavvy for the first 20 overs – holding them to 20 for none and approaching half way they were 75 for two.
Seaton felt they had Tavvy on the rack at 118 for six with Ian Gray out for a best until then of 37. Joel Seward (4-31) was Seaton’s best bowler.
Shaun Cleave put a fresh complexion on the game by swishing 55 as the lower order got on top of the bowling.
A hundred runs went on for the loss of one wicket – half of them in the final five overs – as Tavistock recovered to reach 218 for seven.
Seaton were all out for 90 in reply – and 40 of those were extras!
There were three wickets each for James McGahey (3-27) and Dominic Snyman (3-17) as the collapse gathered pace.
The frustration felt by Seaton skipper Ben Morgan was crystal clear when he lamented: “We were once again woeful with the ball – and I mean that as a unit and not just individually.
“As to what we do about our current woes, hand on heart, I am not really sure. Against Tavistock we used seven bowlers and you know what, every one of them I would back to send down a full nine-over spell and return really strong figures.
“However, so far this season, as a unit, we are not delivering either individually and, as happened against Tavistock, when the bowlers are running in clearly feeling no one is backing them, the end product is going to be what we are getting.
“We all need to take a good look at ourselves and look to put in a little bit extra.”