BARTON have company at the top of the B Division table after they slipped to a 69-run defeat against visiting Tavistock.
Devon all-rounder Jamie Stephens, in a rare appearance for his second-claim club, stroked 102 in Tavistock’s total of 258 for six at Cricketfield Road.
There were three wickets each for Dom Snyman, Charlie Barriball and Billy Barriaball as Barton were bowled out for 189 with seven balls to go.
Barton are now joint top with Seaton, whose win over Ipplepen put them level on points. Tavistock are 18 points further behind in third.
Adam Parker, the Barton captain, felt it was a setback but not a disaster.
“It makes the next two weeks (Cullompton and Seaton) even bigger games, but we are still up there and it is still in our hands,” said Parker.
“As long as we bounce back well and quickly, we will still be sitting in the top two come the end of the season.”
James White and Charlie Barriball were in and out by the time Stephens was joined by Dave Manning at 42 for two.
Manning more than matched Stephens blow for blow in a stand of 200 for the third wicket.
Manning went first for 98, the second of three victims for Jon Martin (3-51).
Stephens, whose other club is Falmouth, was fifth out on 255.
Barton will look back at the period when they slowed from 95 for two – Matt Crampton (42) among the runs – to 105 for five as where the game got away from them.
Greg Shelton (38) and Morgan Harford (23) between them batted long enough to earn Barton three bonus points, which could yet prove vital in a photo finish.
Billy Barriball (3-32) took three of the first four wickets, Snyman (3-34) took three in the middle and Charlie Barriball (3-37) was on the case at the end.
Reflecting on the game, Barton skipper Parker said: “I have to give Dave and Jamie credit, they batted very well and didn't give us a chance through there innings - until they got out of course!
“We didn't do too much wrong with the ball, maybe too many bad balls but those two were making any slight error in length and line cost us.
“Batting wise, we were up against it and with three of our top six missing we needed one of our senior batsman to get going. Unfortunately no one did.”
Before the game the teams stood in silent tribute in memory of former Barton pace bowler Damian Worrad, who has died suddenly aged 43.
Worrad played Premier cricket for Barton in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
He took 72 wickets at an average of 20.99 in the 66 games he played – his best day being six for 33 against Exmouth, when he dismissed Devon CCC's record-breaking batsman Nick Folland with the first ball of the game.
Devon CCC never came calling for the Crewe-born player, who had been through the Glamorgan youth system up to 2ndXI level and played for Gloucestershire and Worcestershire 2nd XIs, so when Dorset offered him and opportunity to play Minor Counties cricket he took it.
Worrad played 14 times for Dorset between 2002-04. Playing against Yorkshire in the C&G Trophy he dismissed England players Craig White and Chris Silverwood.
Jim Parker, the current Barton chairman, played cricket with Worrad during his time at Cricketfield Road.
Parker said although Worrad had lived in Australia for a number of years, he still had many friends at the club from his playing days.
“Damian’s death has come as a huge shock to everybody at the club,” said Parker.
“He was a popular and well-liked bloke, who played his cricket hard on the pitch and did not like losing. He will be missed.
“Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”