NORTH Devon’s 10-wicket win over Torquay in the basement battle at Instow had a hollow ring to it as it was not enough to stave off relegation.
Torquay were already doomed going into the game and North Devon odds-on favourites to accompany them.
For North Devon to stay up they had to beat Torquay AND hope Bovey Tracey and Sandford both lost heavily. Neither did.
So it is back to the A Division for North Devon, who were last in it way back in 2006, when they were promoted along with Chudleigh. Two Premier titles later – 2007 and 2011 – North Devon are back in the A Division.
As North Devon have barely been out of the bottom three all season, relegation has not come as a surprise.
Tom Popham, the North Devon captain, said there is a fine line between success and failure and the side was on the ‘wrong side’ of it too often.
“We are hugely disappointed with the final outcome of the season as we fought as hard as we could until the end but, sadly, that wasn’t quite enough,” said Popham.
“We were on the wrong side of a few close games, which shows we lost some key moments in games rather than being outplayed which I think is down to a lack of experience and that winning habit within the squad.
“With Jack Moore, Fred King, James Tyson, Jay Rothery and Josh Atkinson, among others, gaining more first-team experience and settling in, the side will be massive for us in the future
“We will ensure we come back a better team with more experience and some winning momentum.
“There is a great desire within the team to put this right next season and bounce back straight away.
“We will use the lessons from this season as well as the disappointment from going down to drive us forward as a side.”
Torquay opted to bat first and were bowled out for a measly 77.
Adrian Isherwood led the North Devon bowling effort with five wickets for 13 runs. Josh King had three for 24 and Jack Popham two for 19.
Elliot Moses (26) and Devon’s Mitch Pugh (34) were the only Torquay batters to make more than five runs. Six did not make a run between them.
Knocking off the runs was a 10.5-over task for North Devon. Dan Bowser (32no) was the dominant batter.