SHOBROOKE Park skipper Dan Robbins is quietly confident of steering clear of relegation trouble now after beating fellow strugglers Cullompton by seven wickets.
Captain-elect Brendon Parr made a top score of 62 for Cully in their total of 171 all out.
Parr went in at 57 for three and played the anchorman role through to the penultimate over.
Andrew Codling (3-36) and Jon James (3-25) went through the middle and lower order after Ben Trenaman dealt with both openers.
Opener Robbins missed out on the Shobrooke chase – in and out before the end of the first over – but there were no real scares after that.
Chris For (12) and Jon James (57) made a 52-run dent in the target, then Neil Branton (26no) and James wiped pff 43 more.
Kiwi Craig James overtook Branton from a standing start to finish on 59 not out in the winning total.
Shobrooke are only six points clear of the relegation places – Cully have dropped behind them – but Robbins feels they are on the up after a run of nine straight defeats.
“Now we are out of the bottom two it is in our own hands if we stay there as we are not relying on other teams doing us favours,” said Robbins.
“We bowled well and took our catches to keep CullomptonWe to what I thought was about 50 short of what they needed.
“We know we can compete with the best in this division having beaten Seaton (2nd) and Tavistock (3rd) as well as the tie with Barton (top).
“I am confident we can win two or three more games, which will definitely make us safe.”
Cullompton, who have a toughie at home to Barton this Saturday, have some work to do if they are going to avoid an immediate return to the C Division East.
Parr will be captain this Saturday as James Blackmore has handed over the reigns after four seasons at the help.
“The last one was my final game as skipper as Brendon takes over for the last four to start getting experience for next season,” said Blackmore.
“”We have to take the last four games one at a time and aim to get as many points as we can.”
On the challenge of facing the leaders, Blackmore said: “Barton will be desperate to get 20 points after losing to Tavistock and that could be good for us.
“That pressure does funny things to sides sometimes.”
THORVERTON took a sizeable step towards B Division safety when they beat Filleigh by 55 runs.
With four games to go and 80 points to play for, Thors are 30 clear of Cullompton in the second relegation place.
Thorverton are not safe yet, but two more wins should do it.
“We are feeling a little bit safer now, but are still targeting a few more wins in our last four games as we would like to finish as high up the table as possible,” said skipper Andy Pitt.
Opener Pitt top scored with 39 in Thorverton’s total of 179 all out at Deer Park.
Pitt and Calem Curreen (25) put on 53 up top and Kobi Griggs made 33 going in at second wicket down. Bits and pieces – plus 25 extras – made up the rest of the total.
Filleigh bowler Ryan Bowden (3-15) got into the top order, Garry Henry (3-45) went through the middle and Connor Nash (3-24) took out the tail in his second spell.
Filleigh got up to 92 or three with Jas Kalsi (22) and Justin Saker (37) the main contributors, then collapsed in a heap.
The damage was initially done by Ben Slaverio (4-39) and completed by Jake Choules (4-11).
Filliegh, the side who were top of the table eight games into the season, has now lost five of the last six starts and dropped down to fourth.
MATT Hewer posted his second league ton of the season as Seaton went joint to with Barton after beating Ipplepen by 54 runs
Hewer carried his bat for an unbeaten 108 in his side’s total of 226 for eight. Hewer now has 629 league runs at an average in the high 50s.
The big stands were 66 for the first wicket with Josh Cann (22) and 80 for the third with Joel Seward (33).
Steve Bowden (5-50) and Marcus Gadie (2-59) were the main wicket takers for the Pens.
Ipplepen’s prospects of victory nosedived after losing opener Gareth Penrice (26) at 48 for one. Wickets fell steadily as Pens went from 62 for two to 78 for six.
Sam Wakeham (38) and Bowden (25) stuck around, but the damage had been done by then. Rob Prior had three for 16 and Tim Mitchell three for 36 as Pens were removed for 162.
Delighted Seaton skipper Ben Morgan said not for the first time this season, Hewer had come up with the goods
“His knock was another faultless one and with him in such form it allows everyone else to bat around him,” said Morgan.
“We did lose too many wickets in doing that, but, as ever, a post-200 score is what I am always confident our bowlers will look after and get us over then line and so it proved once more.”
As for the fact his team now sit top with just four games to go, Morgan says: “There’s no denying that the next two games now define our whole season.
“Tavistock turned us over in royal fashion at our place earlier in the campaign and they are without doubt the best side we have faced this year – and arguably in a number of years.”
He continued: “However, we go into every game looking to win and it will be no different at Tavistock on Saturday.”
Ipplepen are not out of relegation danger yet as Thorverton’s win over Filleigh took them past the Pens, whose margin for error is only 16 points.
A run-in that includes relegation worriers Babbacome at home, followed by Shobrooke Park then promotion candidates Barton and Tavistock hints at a tough last month for Sam Wakeham and his men.
BABBACOMBE’S slim hopes of survival remain after they beat mid-table Plymstock by 38 runs at Walls Hill.
Babbacombe, scrapping for every point in a desperate fight to stay up, looked second favourites after they were bowled out for 133.
Only Yanrich Viljoen (28) and former Torquay captain Mike Pugh (21) made much headway against the spin of James Nicholls (3-22) and Ian Whalley (3-39).
The boot was on the other foot when Plymstock batted as Tim Goodwin (6-19), aided and abetted by Viljoen and Paul Bates with two wickets each, dismissed Plymstock for 95.
Take out 28 from Nicholls and there wasn’t much from the rest.
Babbacombe (134pts) are still bottom, behind Cullompton (151) and Shobrooke Park (157), both of whom the have to get past to reach safety.