E Division makes tasty reading for Honiton
PUBLISHED: 02:00 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 22:07 15 June 2010
Copyright Archant Ltd
Axminster were unable to get a much needed win when they took on the side who began the day in the 2nd of the B Division promotion berths, Heathcoat, writes Steve Birley.
Axminster were unable to get a much needed win when they took on the side who began the day in the 2nd of the B Division promotion berths, Heathcoat. The Mid Devon side chalked up an imposing total of 266-9 with Raul East (4-39) and Alex Beighton (3-40) but then Axminster laboured somewhat before closing on 187-7. Danny Larcombe (27no) and Robbie Prior (27), together with David Murnane (23), made the more significant contributions to the Axminster cause. Skipper Danny Larcombe said: "To be honest this was not one of our better days with the ball. Although Nick Taylor did bowl superbly, he had no luck at all. They (Heathcoat) are a fine side and they are loaded with quality batsmen. We let them get away, their total was too many and whilst we set off with honest intent to chase the total, the simple fact is that it was a contest that, if we couldn't win, then we simply didn't dare lose!"Larcombe's side now tackle the leaders Abbotskerswell on Saturday. They go into the home contest trailing second-placed Heathcoat by 20 points and so really do need to take something tangible from the game, a fact not lost on Larcombe.He said: "The Abbots game is huge and we simply have to take something positive from in terms of points for we can ill afford to see the current 20 point gap between us and second-placed Heathcoat extend any further." That game against leaders Abbotskerswell will see Larcombe seeking replacements for his holidaying brother Gary and Johnny Hurford who is now switching to football after his summer switch from Axminster Town to Chard Town.Seaton nudged themselves to the very brink of the two C Division promotion places with a whopping nine-wicket win over visiting Babbacombe. The South Devon side were restricted to 194-5, Mike Cottam and Ben Copp both bagging braces of wickets and then the home batsmen, in particular Steve Pritchard (88), Matt Hewer (45no) and Mike Cottam (43no) saw their side to a 17 point haul. Skipper Mike Wheeler was not totally pleased with the performance though: "We batted exceptionally, bowled very well but I have to say that our fielding was well below the standard I would expect and indeed like to see, there's work to be done in that department." Wheeler's side travel to third bottom club Ivybridge on Saturday looking to close the 11-point gap between them and the side who currently occupy the second promotion berth, Kingsbridge. With the South Devon side at Seaton in a fortnight it seems Wheeler and his men have their destiny in their own hands, a fact not lost on Wheeler who says: "With a third of the season still to negotiate, and with us tucked in behind the top two, both of whom we have yet to play leaves us in a pretty useful position. What's more we are now fielding consistently our strongest XI and this year, unlike some previous seasons, we are not going to be hit by footballing cricketers being taken away."On Saturday, Wheeler can call again on the services of Greg Foxwell and he will come back in as a straight swap for the unavailable Steve Pritchard.Feniton's promotion push suffered a serious, if not quite terminal, blow with a 45-run defeat at home to Ivybridge who scored 178-7 and then bowled out the Acland Park side for just 133. In what proved to be an all round bad day at the office for Feniton only Dave Haysom (22) and skipper Mark Kingdom (21), together with Stuart Bright (13no), made any impression in the score book whilst earlier John Pyle, Russell Whitton and Bright had each taken two wickets. Saturday's trip to second-placed Kingsbridge is now a 'must win' game if Feniton are to stay in the hunt for promotion this term.Kilmington's promotion drive also stalled as they slipped to a seven wicket defeat at Tiverton. They were bowled out for just 138 despite the efforts of David Cook (44), Rory Hellier (32) and Ian Gooding (20) and then the home side, enjoying the better of the batting conditions, cruised to victory, losing just three wickets, all of which were claimed by Tom Gooding (3-25).Ottery St Mary were involved in a 'run fest' as high-flying Dartington racked up 289-4, two wickets for Brian Burns as the Otters made a great attempt at the run chase, closing on 251-6. Skipper John Tierney led by example, plundering a 37-ball half century and, when he was finally dismissed, just seven short of a century, he had faced just 52 balls. Tierney cracked 10 fours and four sixes and then Burns also reached a half century, his a more sedate offering, coming off 102 deliveries. Uplyme and Lyme Regis skipper Ashley Caddy was left to reflect on 'what might have been' as his side's promotion bid was knocked back in a 76-run defeat at the hands of Thorverton. "Dropped catches made the difference. We had them in all sorts of trouble and then proceeded to let the chance slip to go on and win the game. It was very disappointing for, even after some abject fielding, we were left with the task of chasing a total that we would normally relish hunting down. Our batting matched the fielding. A bad day at the office, for sure," said Caddy. The skipper, and his fellow bowlers, could hold their heads high post match. Caddy (3-58), Steve Batey (3-32) and Phil Norris (2-16) claimed wickets as Thorverton were bowled out for 194 but then the home side proceeded to bat collectively badly to only muster 118 with Caddy top scoring on 37.Honiton are a side 'on the march' and were it not for the fact that five of their games to date have fallen foul of the weather, then they would surely be more a lot nearer to promotion. However, another win for the Mountbatten men, and against one of the two sides who began the day in the promotion berths, has catapulted Honiton into the promotion race. It was the Mountbatten Park bowlers who 'did the business' , Andy Brinsford (4-35), Kev Kelly (3-26) and Phil Tansley (2-43) combining to bowl out the visitors for 153, and then skipper Matravers hit a superb 75 from the number three slot as he and Tansley (25) saw the side to victory. On Saturday, Honiton travel up the A30 to Countess Wear knowing that another victory and they will likely get that much closer than the 16 points that currently separate them from the only side between them and a promotion berth - Whitchurch, who host an improving Lustleigh. The E Division table could make excellent reading for Honiton followers on Saturday night, a fact not lost on Matravers, who said: "We are working up a decent head of steam and this is the time of any season that, as a captain, you hope your team are gathering momentum. We have done that and are going about our business in a confident mood. The games can't come quick enough right now."Upottery are now within one win of sealing promotion out of the basement division, and a win on Saturday in their home meeting with Topsham St James and their place in F Division next year will be rubber stamped. They strengthened their hold on both a promotion place, and indeed the title, with victory over Chardstock who they bowled out for 139and then knocked the runs off for the loss of just three wickets. Only Paul Reynolds (47) and skipper Fenton Day (20) were able to make any notable entries into the score book as Nigel Wyatt (3-17), Martin Joyce (3-38) and Fred Drew (2-25) worked their collective magic and then Ollie Rice (41no) with support from Gary Kennard (39), saw Upottery to the win on 141-3.Yarcombe and Stockland remain both in the title race and the promotion push after they took 19 points from an eight wicket win over Newton Cyres. Matthew Barnacle was the home 'match winner', claiming a 'fivfer'. The 19-year-old seamer worked up some genuine pace and returned figures of 5-40 as the Mid Devon visitors were restricted and then Simon Durrant (60no), Jonathan Rich (43), Steve Loud (20) and skipper Nigel Parris (28no) combined to take the hosts to the win. They are only 10 points clear of third placed Topsham they know that, with a win at Chardstock next week the table will make excellent reading for Y&S followers.