Sandford's Jack Ford – man of the moment in the win over Paignton<br>credit: Conrad Sutcliffe - no re-use without copyright owner's consent

SANDFORD’S winning streak at the top of the Tolchards DCL Premier Division continued with a two-wicket victory at Paignton.

That’s three wins on the spin to kick-start the defence of the Premier title Sandford won last September – and eight on the trot when the final five games last season are factored in.

The last team to get the better of Sandford were Exmouth, who turned them over by eight wickets on July 29 last season.

Sandford’s win over Paignton was a curious affair created by a combination of bad weather, the good old Duckworth-Lewis System and punishments for slow bowling.

Paignton made 167 for eight in a game trimmed back from 50 to 40 overs a side following a 70-minute delay.

Skipper Noah Wright opened-up with a top score of 39 and there were chip-ins from Charlie Ward (19), Ollie Woodcock, who made 25 on his promotion from the 2nd XI, and Abhay Negi (26).

Harry Ward retired hurt when he was on seven after ducking into a short ball bowled by England under-19 paceman Raphael Weatherall. Youngster Ethan Hancock, on the ground to watch dad Neil in action, stepped in as 12th man for Paignton.

Weatherall, deployed as first change, took two for 32. There were two wickets apiece for Sandford captain Jackson Thompson (2-20) and Aryan Lakra (2-23), both of whom were economical.

“We bowled really well in good bowling conditions until it rained and it was hard to bowl with a wet ball,” said Thompson.

“Raphy Weatherall bowled a hostile spell, Jamie Palmer did his bit after a week away and James Theedom bowled well too. 

Duckworth-Lewis decreed Sandford had to make 173 in 40 overs to win the game – and they got there by an unusual route!

Sandford’s prospects were not looking too rosy at 28 for four after an early seeing to by Charlie Ward (2-37) and Abhay Negi (3-34).

A stand of 46 between Jack Ford and James Theedom (22) put the game back in the balance.

Theedom’s demise was a set-back, but Ford batted on to reach 75 not out as the target came down.

With four overs to go the target was seven to win with Ford at one end and Matt Jeacock at the other. There was just one snag: Paignton had run out of time to bowl their overs.

Slow bowling attracts a six-run penalty for every over not bowled by the cut-off point – and Paignton were four overs behind, which cost them 24 runs.

So Sandford, chasing 173 to win, were technically on 189 for eight at the end of the game – 16 more than they needed!

Thompson said Sandford showed ‘great character and resilience’ to get the win, but had special praise for match-winner Ford.

“Jack stood out and played beautifully,” said Thompson. “He paced his innings well and batted well with the middle and the tail. 

“Jack showed great maturity and showed why he was picked by the Devon Lions as a leader.”

Wright said despite the outcome of the game, one of many positives was: “Proving we can compete with the top sides in the division.”

Wright added: “If we can recreate this performance, we will win a lot more games than we lose.”

“The vibe around the group is immense and we will carry all those positives into this week at Exeter.”