Losing draw edges Axminster towards B Division safety

AXMINSTER edged closer to B Division safety when they took nine points from a losing draw at Bideford where the hosts scored an imposing 248-5, answered by Axminster with a decent enough 203-4, in which Joel Seaward top scored with 61.

AXMINSTER edged closer to B Division safety when they took nine points from a losing draw at Bideford where the hosts scored an imposing 248-5, answered by Axminster with a decent enough 203-4, in which Joel Seaward top scored with 61.

Pete Miller hit an unbeaten 42 and David Murnane chipped in with 34.

With two to play, Axminster sit five points clear of 2nd bottom Kingsbridge and so, mathematically, 36 points from games at Barnstaple this coming Saturday, and at home to Shobrooke Park on the final day, will suffice.

In reality, with Kingsbridge meeting promotion seeking Clyst St George and then Bideford, it is highly likely that simply one more big haul of points will do for Axminster.

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Feniton's status as a C Division side remains in peril after they slipped to an eighth defeat of the season, beaten by two wickets at Tiverton, who were claiming their very first win of the season!

Mark Kingdon top scored with 71 in the Feniton offering of 207-9, passed by the Mid Devon side with two wickets to spare. Stuart Bright claimed four wickets for the losers.

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With 2nd bottom Bridestowe also winning, it could not have been worse for the Acland Park side, who now go into their penultimate game of the season on Saturday, at home to leaders Cockington, knowing that the bottom two meet each other at Bridestowe and a home win, coupled with a Feniton defeat and the whole thing will run to the final day of the season when Feniton travel to Ivybridge.

Seaton's outside hopes of gate- crashing the C Division promotion picture are over after they went down by 111 runs at Dartington & Totnes, where the home side plundered a whopping 301-5 declared and then bowled Seaton out for 190.

Mike Wheeler bagged all but one of the host's wickets to fall, finishing with figures of 4-60 and Matt Hewer top scored with 32 and Ben Morgan was next best with an unbeaten 27.

In D Division, Ottery St Mary took nine points from a losing draw at home to new leaders Thorverton, whom they bowled out for 192 thanks to Miller's 3-34 and then Richard Townsend top scored from the opener's slot with an unbeaten 49 as the Otters limped to the draw on 142-9.

Kilmington look odds on to suffer a second successive relegation after they were beaten by six wickets at Yelverton.

Andy Culley top scored with 37 as the East Devon side closed on 126-9 in their 36 overs of a rain-reduced contest. Ben Noble then took 2-16 as the home side won with two overs and six wickets, to spare.

With Saturday's final home game of the campaign against title-chasing Hather-leigh, before a final day visit to Babbacombe, they go into those last two marooned at the bottom of the table, 17 points adrift of third bottom Whitchurch.

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To avoid slipping into the E Division they simply have to beat Hatherleigh this weekend and hope for favourable results elsewhere.

Uplyme are almost safe from the drop after they brushed aside relegation threatened rivals Babbacombe by eight wickets. The South Devon visitors laboured to 105-9, with Steve Batey nailing another fivefer for the home side who then chased down victory at a rapid rate of knots, thanks to Mark Batey's unbeaten 57 and a cameo knock of 20 from Sam Challis.

Uplyme head to Yelverton for their penultimate game of the season with a 16 points cushion from the drop spots, they complete their season the following Saturday at home to Ottery St Mary.

The race for who goes up with E Division champions elect Filleigh is really hotting up, for, with two games and forty points to play for there are no fewer than four sides in the mix, including Upottery who did their chances a power of good with a maximum points haul at home to Hemyock.

The Mid Devon visitors were skittled out for 89 inside 22 overs as the previous weeks bowling heroes struck again.

Skipper Stuart Drew took 4-7 in a five over burst and Gary Kennard claimed 3-9 in 2.3 overs.

Matthew Button-Stephens then cracked an unbeaten 46, with the only wicket to fall being that of Thomas Wyatt (25) in a nine wicket success.

Drew's side head for a huge game at Shaldon this coming weekend, after which they complete the season with the visit of Newton St Cyres.

Chief rivals Kingskerswell host hapless Cullompton before bringing the curtain down on their campaign with a trip to Yarcombe so, even if Upottery claim two wins, they may need a favour elsewhere to sit second come the final reckoning in a fortnight's time.

However, there is a view that three teams will be promoted from the section at the end of term and so Drew's men have a great chance f life at a higher level next summer.

Yarcombe went down by seven wickets at promotion chasing Shaldon.

Whimple drew their home E Division game with Kentisbeare who were bowled out for 83 with Adam Holmes (4-29) and Chris Palfrey (2-32), the key wicket takers. Holmes then hit a superb unbeaten 70 as the home side limped to 153-5.

2nd XI reports: In 2nd XI cricket, Uplyme and rivals Clyst Hydon will meet this coming Saturday in the penultimate game of their respective D Division East campaigns with the match very much a title decider. Uplyme set themselves up for the game by taking maximum points from their meeting with Axminster III, who they beat by 46 runs. Mike Brinscombe top scored for the table toppers with 97 and J Totes chipped in with 32 in a total of 250-6. Dave Hayball grabbed 3-42 for Axminster, who were then bowled out for 204.

Steven Read hit 59 and Ian Barwick got 42 as J Wilson netted a fivfer with figures of 5-23 and Ali Rattenbury claimed 3-49.

Uplyme head to Clyst Hydon leading the Mid Devon villagers by 12 points and so an away win will make for a very merry journey back to East Devon at stumps on Saturday evening.

Kilmington II were the side to aid the Uplyme cause as they denied Clyst Hydon victory, taking a winning draw from their meeting.

A healthy 241-8, in which John Lavender struck a sweet 93 for Kilmington and Giles Dixon chipped in with an unbeaten 39, was answered by the visitors with 202-8 as skipper Steve Morris took 3-33.

There was a real thriller at Kentisbeare where visiting Upottery II managed to secure a tie.

When the final over of a compelling contest began, the scores were level with the last visiting pair at the wicket. Home skipper Andy Hazeldine clean bowled Upottery's last man, Simon Bath, and the two sides each trooped off with a 16 point haul from the meeting.

Batting first, the Mid Devon hosts were dismissed for 235 with Dan Prettejohn claiming a fivefer with figures of 5-49 and Simon Bath took 3-60.

There were contributions down the visitors' order with Ryan Pulman (36) and skipper Alex Fensome (26) the largest individual offerings. Lee Nicholl swatted a rapid fire 25 batting at number ten and there was also a useful dozen from the bat of Bath before he lost his wicket to see the game drawn with Upottery's score also on 235.

Honiton II won their penultimate game of the E Division East season to seal their top two finish and with it a place in the D Division next term.

A tenth win in a dozen outings was duly arrived at thanks to a 92-run win at Otter Moor Lane against North Devon III.

Batting first, Honiton were just five runs shy of maximum batting points with 195-8, guided there by Ollie Cave and Nigel Foster, who both scored 33. Craig Lapping (27no), skipper Andrew Lapping (24) and Pete Beighton (23), all chipped in, and then Richard Hill (3-27) and Martin Schmidt (3-17) combined to bowl out the visiting side for 103.

Honiton's win takes them to within a point of champions-elect Whimple who were the odd side out this time round. That is a fate that befalls Honiton next weekend, hence them only having one to play, home to Cullompton on the final day of the season.

Whimple finish their campaign with a visit from Kenn followed by a trip to Axminster IV and 20 points from the two games will seal the title for them.

Axminster IV lost by 70 runs at home to Exeter Civil Service II after being bowled out for 118 in reply to the Exeter side's total of 188.

Seaton II have consistently this term been the 'best of the rest' in D Division East behind the runaway leaders. And they consolidated that position with a four- wicket win over Cullompton.

Ian Hunt bagged 5-38 as the Mid Devon visitors were restricted to 177-8; Paul Strawbridge (62) and an unbeaten 34 from Pete Lawson saw Seaton to a sixth win of the season.

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