Tom Popham smashes the ball down the hill at Sandford<br>credit: Fiona Tyson

SANDFORD got off the mark at the third attempt in the Premier Division with a 55-run win over visiting North Devon.

Sandy Allen, appearing for the first time this term, and skipper Richard Foan both got into the 70s as Sandford clattered along to 245 for five in their 50 overs.

Allen (74) and Jackson Thompson (24) got Sandford off to an 83-run start then Foan (73no) and Richard Hopwood (42no) put on 98 unbroken before the overs ran out.

Bowling breakthroughs were rare, so Josh Atkinson’s two for 37 stood out for North Devon.

North Devon had a good go at chasing the runs and chased until the eighth wicket fell on 188.

Ben Howe (40), skipper Tom Popham (43) and Jack Popham (43) all did their bit to keep the chase afloat.

What North Devon needed was one greater score to hang a chase on, but Harrison Jones (2-38), Andy Buzza (2-43) and Richard Foan ensure that did not happen by removing Howe and a Popham each respectively.

Jack Popham’s demise at 188 for eight signalled that the end was in sight and two more wickets for Jamie Palmer (3-36) ended the entertainment with four overs to go.

For Sandford skipper Foan it was not far away from a complete performance.

“We dominated the game from start to finish in a really good performance all round,” said Foan.

“Sandy set the tone with the bat early on, which showed how much we have missed him so far. 

“Ricky finished the innings really well. It is brilliant to have someone of that quality at seven.”

Turning to the bowling squad, Foan said: “Jake Griffiths and Jackson Thompson did well with the new ball and old work horse Jamie Palmer, Mr Reliable as always, finished the game off with his wickets.”

Tom Popham, North Devon’s captain, accepted Sandford were ‘the better team’ but disputed Foan’s dominant description of them.

“The team battled hard and were in the game right until the end,” said Popham.

“If the bowling was in the right areas it was hard to force the pace on that deck and 245 was probably 20-30 too many

“We were too loose with the ball at times and gave them too many easy boundary balls to score off.

“We have to keep the fight up into this week’s game against Cornwood.”