Willow and Miller help Axminster to 15 vital points

PUBLISHED: 15:30 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 23:56 15 June 2010

THE Eastern Divisions in the Francis Clark Devon League were weather beaten on the first Saturday of the final month of the campaign to such an extent that in the lower 2nd XI Divisions of D and E East, not a single ball was bowled

THE Eastern Divisions in the Francis Clark Devon League were weather beaten on the first Saturday of the final month of the campaign to such an extent that in the lower 2nd XI Divisions of D and E East, not a single ball was bowled at any of the nine venues scheduled to stage cricket.

Axminster did manage to get a full game in in their B Division basement battle at Kingsbridge and the Cloakham Lawn outfit managed to pull back seven points on their South Devon rivals by taking the lion's share of the points from a winning draw.

Batting first, Axminster banked a much needed maximum batting points with a total of 237-4.

Jack Willow led the line superbly hitting a top score of 80 and there was an equally impressive knock from Paul Miller (77).

Nick Taylor then claimed 3-56 whilst both Mason and Prior bagged braces but the home side's last pair dug in and the reply closed on 192-9.

So 15 vital points for Axminster who go into the last four games sitting in one of the two drop spots, but they are just three behind Kingsbridge, 11 adrift of Shobrooke and 15 shy of Bideford as they bid to avoid slipping down the Leagues.

Next up is Tavistock at home and, with Tavvy currently second, it may be that in the following three games, when they face North Devon pair Bideford and Barnstaple before a final day showdown with Shobrooke, that they bank the points to see them keep their place in the Division.

There was no C Division action for Feniton, at home to Plymouth Civil Service, or Seaton, who were due at Cockington.

That leaves Seaton's season seemingly over in terms of honours for they go into the last four games, beginning with Saturday's visit of Bridestowe, 30 points and four places adrift of 2nd placed Cockington, with 80 points to play for.

Feniton meanwhile are not yet out of the woods in terms of relegation. They go into this weekend's game at Chagford some 24 points clear of 2nd bottom side Bridestowe.

In the D Division Ottery were forced to call off their meeting with Yelverton and that means that both sides have now lost more games to the weather than any of the other sides in the section. Saturday's cancellation was the fifth such time that Yelverton have been hit whilst for the Otters it was a fourth frustrating Saturday afternoon of another soggy season.

Kilmington won at the 14th time of asking when they claimed a thrilling two-run victory in a nail- biting contest at Ipplepen. Both sides went into the meeting in serious trouble of dropping out of the section and, post match, it will be the East Devon side who will feel much happier about their longer term future.

Skipper Tom Gooding hit his side's top score of 46 in what looked a meagre total of 110. Ipplepen skipper Keith Wakeham was once again outstanding with the ball as he took 6-28 and in support was Steve Bowden who claimed the other four wickets to fall for 27 runs.

If the home side though the job was done at the half way stage, they were in misery at stumps as James Lambert bowled superbly to nail a fivefer. Lambert is normally a 2nd XI seamer but his performance will no doubt earn him a continued run in the senior side.

With two overs to go, Ipplepen were nudging their way to victory. In the penultimate over, Giles Dixon swooped in the outfield and ran out a home batsmen and then Lambert, charged with sending down the final over, knocked over the stumps of the last man in and Kilmington had won a famous, if narrow, victory.

Skipper Gooding said: "That's been a long time coming but its arrival is certainly bang on time going into the final four games of the season. Now we can approach the run in with renewed confidence. James bowled very well and that is all we ask that players step up, seize their chance and we all move on, he did very well."

Kilmington edge off the foot of the table and, with four games and 80 points to play for, are just 13 points behind both Ipplepen and Babbacombe.

Next up for Gooding's men is Saturday's East Devon derby at home to Ottery St Mary, after which they go to Yelverton before hosting Hatherleigh and completing the season with a trip to Babbacombe.

Uplyme & Lyme Regis pushed hosts Whitchurch nearer the dreaded drop when they beat them by 126 runs.

Batting first, the East Devon side plundered a very healthy 260-7 led by the Whittington brothers of Ben and Jed who both hit scores of 64.

Derek Wellman cracked a quick-fire 46 towards the end of the innings and there was also an accomplished 34 from Ashley Caddy.

The hosts were then bowled out for 134 with Neil Price the pick of the visiting bowlers with 4-28 whilst both Steve Batey and Ashley Caddy picked up a couple of wickets each.

On Saturday, Uplyme go to promotion seeking Hatherleigh.

Whimple's E Division promotion bid was hit by the weather when their game at home to Countess Wear fell to the weather and it was a similar tale of woe at Honiton where the game with Woodbury also fell.

Both Whimple and Honiton have now been hit harder than any other sides in the section, both have lost four games to the weather this term.

This weekend Whimple are at Roborough and Honiton entertain leaders Ashburton.

It was a similar sorry tale coming out of F Division Upottery when their game with Chelston was weather- hit.

Upottery had begun the day third and they finished it fourth owing to Kingskerswell getting their game at Newton St Cyres in and a big win saw them leap frog second placed Topsham St James and Upottery, into second place. Next up for Stuart Drew's side is a trip to Topsham St James after which they host Hemyock, travel to Shaldon and finish the season with the visit of Newton St Cyres.

Yarcombe put a big dent in the Kenn promotion hopes as they returned to East Devon with the greater share of points from a winning draw.

Simon Durrant (75) and Jon Rich (70), were the principle run getters in a total of 209-4.

Kenn's reply was always there or thereabouts before it floundered and closed on 178-8.

Richard Reed bagged a brace of wickets for Yarcombe.

On Saturday Yarcombe travel to face one of the only two unbeaten records across the county league's seven 1st XI divisions, that belonging to Filleigh.

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