Honiton trio dig in to earn league security

A winning draw is not the most cheering of results but, when your status as a B Division side depends on it, it becomes something to celebrate.

A winning draw is not the most cheering of results but, when your status as a B Division side depends on it, it becomes something to celebrate.

That was the case for Axminster at Barnstaple & Pilton on Saturday when the side could not quite knock over the last three Barum batsmen as the hosts, replying to the visitor's 207-3, laboured to a stubborn 117-7 in reply.

Joel Seward (50no), Paul Miller (49no), Tristan Wakeley (41) and David Murnane (23), all made contributions in the pre-tea session and then Mason (3-30) and Nick Taylor (2-31), combined to see Axminster to a 14 point haul.

They go into Saturday's final game of the campaign, at home to mid-table Shobrooke Park, needing five points to make certain of a finish outside the two relegation berths.

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Feniton slumped to a ninth defeat in 14 starts this term when humbled by a Cockington side who sealed promotion, courtesy of a 137 run win. John Pyle and Ben Allen each claimed four wicket hauls for the Acland Park side as, after a minute's silence was held in memory of Fenny stalwart John Virgin, the visitors were bowled out for 217.

Andrew Rose (22), was the only home batsman to offer any real resistance as the home reply floundered on 80.

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Feniton now go to fourth-placed Ivybridge needing to get a positive result just in case second-from-bottom Bridestowe, pull off a surprise result away at title chasing Cockington.

Seaton's penultimate C Division outing took them to Stoke Gabriel where they amassed a whopping 315-8, thanks to Sean Perry (80), Charlie Clode (72) and half centuries also from Matt Hewer and Raul East. But, on a peach of a batting surface, the home side closed on 210-4.

Seaton skipper Mike Wheeler said: "It was a good batting track although the bowling was not particularly sharp. The table does not lie and, with a game to go, we have been found to not quite have what it needed for a top two finish. But we'll brush ourselves down and have another crack at it next year."

In the D Division, Kilmington are all but sunk and it is now looking like successive relegations for the East Devon side after they were predictably beaten at home by promotion and title-chasing Hatherleigh.

The North Devon side banked a maximum haul of points thanks to a score of 212-7, answered by the hosts with 160 all out. Craig Seward and Ben Noble each bagged a brace of wickets for the hosts for whom skipper Tom Gooding also claimed a wicket.

Giles Dixon struck the top individual score of 29 in the reply and young Seward, with 22, also completed a fine individual all round effort, but defeat number nine from 14 outings for Gooding's side looks set to consign them to a season in the E Division next summer.

All is not totally lost though for, if they can win and bank a full house of points at Babbacombe next Saturday, and Uplyme fail to get at least half a dozen points from their final game at home to Ottery St Mary, then Gooding's men will survive - by the skin of their teeth!

Uplyme slipped into mortal danger with a heavy defeat at Yelverton where they were bundled out for 97 with only Richard Thorn (27) making any significant impression.

Adam Caddy picked up four of the five home wickets to be taken in a successful run chase. Uplyme must now look to bank a decent haul in their final game at home to Ottery St Mary to send both Kilmington and Babbacombe spiralling down at stumps come Saturday evening.

Ottery St Mary are the D Division draw specialists and they denied title and promotion-chasing Lewdown vital points as, replying to the visitor's 199-9, they closed on 175-7. Lewis Townsend (4-65) was the pick of the Ottery bowlers and then John Tierney top scored in the reply with 39. John Pritchard weighed in with an unbeaten 34, Charl Axsel hit 28 and Mark Woodman hit a fine unbeaten 23 to leave the visitors frustrated at the close.

Whimple were beaten by seven wickets by Ashburton and, as a result, are now in grave danger after slipping to the foot of the table. Even a win in their final game at home to Exeter Civil Service, who sit six points better off, immediately above them in the table, may be insufficient to stave off the drop. What is crystal clear is that the game at Whimple, will see the losers drop into the E Division.

At Ashburton, Whimple were bowled out for 108 with only Dan Van Grudgings making any impression with 20. The same player then took 2-31 as the hosts closed on 112-3.

Honiton leapt from a relegation berth to mid-table security with a 42 run home win over Kentisbeare.

The Otter Moor Lane faithful saw three players effectively win the game for the home side. Phil Tansley (52), Rob Ingram (44) and Kev Kelly (17no), were the principle scorers in a total of 163-5.

Harry Howe (2-36) and Will Squire (2-37) were the Kents' wicket takers. Andrew Chave top scored with 43 but Kelly (5-40), Tansley (3-27) and Ingram (2-37), nailed sufficient wickets to bowl the villagers out for 121.

Honiton go into Saturday's final game of the season at Countess Wear sitting seven points, and three places, above the second drop spot so, as long as they bank a reasonable number of points, they will line up in the E Division again next season.

Upottery have their eyes firmly on an E division promotion berth after they emulated Kingskerswell's haul with a maximum gathering of points from a two wicket win at Shaldon.

This game had been billed as the division's match of the day with the winners going on to seek a top three finish and the losers consigned to another term at this level. Batting first, Shaldon were bowled out for 184 thanks to the efforts of Matt Frost (4-27) and Gary Kennard (3-38).

The run chase looked to be going horribly wrong before the intervention of skipper Stuart 'Willow' Drew who hit a fine 30 in what became something of a close finish, with the winning runs coming in the final over.

Seamus Machin (50) and Mark Joyce (36), had posted the earlier runs. Leg spinner Andy Elspy took 2-23 and Jack Saunders bagged 2-24 for the seasiders.

Just five points from their final game of the season, at home to Newton St Cyres, on Saturday, will enable Stuart Drew and his side to prepare sat navs for life in the E Division next season. What's more, if they were to bank four more points than Kingskerswell managed from their last outing, at Yarcombe, Upottery will go up as runners-up!

For the first time in 11 outings, Whimple II were denied outright victory, however, the winning draw that they took from the meeting with visiting Kenn was sufficient to push them to within five points of sealing the E Division East 2nd XI title.

Barry Wright was the start of the show for Whimple as he struck a magnificent 122 in a total of 244. The visitors, playing their final game of the campaign, closed on a stubborn 100-9 and did not have sufficient on the board to make the couple of points for the losing draw by reaching two thirds of the required target.

Seaton defeated visiting Exeter Civil Service by 115 runs. John Wheeler (58) and Paul Strawbridge (43), were the principle scorers in a home total of 225-5 and then skipper Ian Hunt picked up 4-14 from seven overs as the visiting side were bundled out for 110.

There was a father and son combination in the runs for Topsham St James II at their Bonfire Field home.

John Richardson and his 13-year-old son Tom opened the home innings together and put on 138 for the first wicket.

Richardson senior made 60 and Richardson Junior hit 69 with the Saints' innings closing on 200-5. Tim Cooper claimed 4-25 in 13 excellent overs but the visitors, Axminster IV, managed to avoid defeat for the very first time this season, securing a losing draw on 100-9 with skipper Peter Kiy top scoring with 33.

Upottery II were comfortable winners by a margin of 10 wickets in their derby meeting at home to Feniton II.

The visitors were bowled out for 129 with Dave Cousens (39) and Mike Salter (32), scoring the bulk of the runs.

Fred Drew bowled beautifully for his 2-21 in 13 overs and Bruce Inglis also bagged a brace with figures of 2-24.

Inglis (64no) and skipper Alex Fensome (46no) stroked their side to a perfect 10 wicket, max points win.

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