Bideford's Martin Stewart spinning away against Bovey Tracey<br>credit: Conrad Sutcliffe - no re-use without copyright owner's consent

BIDEFORD avoided a last-day disaster in the B Division by inflicting a crushing 92-run defeat on Bovey Tracey 2ndXI.

The final day scenario was that one of Bideford, Ivybridge, Dartington & Totnes or Heathcoat 2ndXI would be going down with doomed Plymstock.

Bideford were further way from danger than any of their rivals in the bottom half of the table, but made 100 per cent certain of staying up by thrashing Bovey.

“It was never in any doubt and nice to end with a win,” said skipper Alex Hannam.

Posting a total of 265 for six put Bideford in the driving seat. Openers James Ford (52) and Tom Brend (78) got away to a 134-run start then Oliver Hannam (20), Jack Ford (31) and veteran Ian Hayter (35no) kept the board ticking over.

Bovey's Archie Christophers goes for the leg-side option against BidefordBovey skipper Jeremy Christophers tried seven bowlers in search of breakthroughs. Only Jack Ansley (2-32) had much to celebrate.

Bovey made a decent start – they were 88 for one – but lost their way in the time it took to slip from 148 for five to 155 for nine. Losing three wickets on 148 did not help.

Opener Freddie Ford (29) and Archie Christophers (41) put on 67 for the second wicket after Derek Perry came and went for 15: bowled by Martin Stewart by a ball he left alone!

Charlie Hill (26) chipped in before a series of comings and goings at the other end undermined Bovey’s chase.

Wickets were shared among Bideford’s bowlers with three for Steve Bond (3-29) and two each for Stewart and spinner Jack Ford.

HEATHCOAT 2ndXI were condemned to relegation from the B Division when they lost by five wickets to promotion-winners Kilmington.

Dylan Penberthy reeled off a century for Heathcoat in their 45-over total of 232 for eight.

Penberthy (118) and James Onley-Gregson (73) put on 202 for the second wicket after Toby Lochead and Jack Burnand both went cheaply.

Best of the bowling by Kilmington came from Oliver Reed (4-29) and Brett Garner (3-39).

Kilmington’s innings followed a different pattern with openers Matt Rockett (101) and Tom Gooding (66) putting on 162 for the first wicket. Josh Short (16) and Matt Reed (13no) got most of the rest as Kilmington won with more than nine overs in hand.

Matt Hodson, the Heathcoat captain, said there were numerous reasons why his team failed to fire this season.

“We haven't been helped by availability issues and had a lot of injuries and isolations, but realistically we haven't played good enough cricket,” said Hodson.

“We struggled to finish-off sides with the ball and generally did not score enough runs.

“Nevertheless, it has been great to be back playing this summer and I'm sure the boys will bounce back next year.”

Hodson added: “Congratulations to Thorverton, who were by far the best team in the division in my opinion, and also to Kilmington, whose promotion was well deserved.”

For Kilmington it was a promotion that has been on the cards for a while and one skipper Brett Garner is confident the club can cope with.

“We have missed out a few times before so sooner or later it was going to happen,” said Garner.

“The overseas we were hoping to have this season never made it over so we went up with the players we had.

“Next season we hope to have an overseas all season, together with some new signings that will help us be more competitive in the A Division."

Bideford's Jim Keates bowling against Bovey Tracey