Faizan Riaz -sixth ton takes him past 1,000 league runs for season <br>credit: Gerry Hunt

PLYMOUTH pro Faizan Riaz smashed through the 1,000-run barrier for the second season running by taking a ton off Sandford as the city side got back to winning ways.

Plymouth had gone three games without a win before running into Sandford, who are battling hard to avoid relegation.

Riaz and Joe Hagan-Burt both hit centuries as Plymouth amassed 343 for three in their 50 overs.

After Rob Bennett (32) and Liam Winn (61) got Plymouth up to 113 for two, Riaz and Hagan-Burt plundered 184 for the third wicket. Riaz  made 120 not out – his sixth Premier ton this season – and Hagan-Burt was out for 107 with three overs to go.

Joe Hagan-Burt - also scored a century for PlymouthSandford were bowled out with seven balls to go for 220, no one making more than Harrison Jones (53).

Richard Foan (34), Chris Simpson (35) and Chris Jelley (26) all chipped in and Plymouth gave away 47 extras.

Plymouth’s Sam Stein (2-34) got two of the Sandford top three, Matt Petherbridge (3-44) got into the middle order then Hagan-Burt (2-11) knocked over the tail enders.

Plymouth remain where they have been for some time  - fourth in the table – but Sandford have dropped back towards the relegation places.

Riaz is on 1,050 Premier runs for the season and with three games to go should pass last season’s career best of 1,100.

The Pakistani batsman’s sixth Premier Division ton this season, broke his own record of five set in 2018.

With four games to go Riaz is on course to break the league record he set last summer of 1,100 runs.

Premier batsmen have totted up more than 1,000 runs in the past, but not since the season was reduced from 22 to 18 games in 1999. Chris Rogers (1,273 in 1997 for North Devon), Adrian Small (1025 in 1995 for Exmouth), Andy Pugh (1,128 in 1992 for Brixham).

Jon Varcoe, the Plymouth captain, was the first to pat Riaz on the back.

“What Faz has achieved is nothing short of phenomenal,” said Varcoe. 

“We still have three games left and he's hungrier than ever to further his total from last year.”

Varcoe added:  “Joey was destructive and just belted everything to the fence.

“We led the game from start to finish, which was very pleasing.”

Defeat leaves just Sandford just five points clear of the relegation places with three games to go, stating with leaders Heathcoat this Saturday.

A run-in of Heathcoat (top), Sidmouth (3rd) and Paignton (2nd) is going to be a challenge for Sandford.

Sandford skipper Foan said he was handicapped by having four regulars absent when the team was picked, the lost two former Devon players on match day.

“Sandy Allen had to drop out on the morning of the match and Matt Theedom broke a finger 10 overs into the game, so we had to manage 40 overs with 10 players,” said Foan.

“Plymouth played their shots and batted well to be fair to them. 

“We battled hard and got a few batting points everyone is vital at this stage. 

“We will be back to full strength for Heathcoat and looking for an improved performance all round.”

Click here for more reports and reactions from week 15 in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League