Sidmouth's defeat at Exmouth does not halt title celebrations
Sidmouth did enough in their four-wicket defeat by Exmouth to clinch the Francis Clark Devon League Premier Division title for the fourth time in five years on Saturday.
Only two teams could win the title going into the final round of fixtures – and as fate had it they were playing each other. Exmouth had it all to do as Sidmouth's target was eight points, irrespective of how the game panned out.
Sidmouth made 223 for four, with Anthony Griffiths making 66, Josh Bess 53 and Luke Bess 45.
Exmouth missed out on three potential bowing bonus points by only taking four wickets, and from then on they knew what was coming
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By the time Exmouth went out to bat, Sidmouth only needed two wickets for one more bonus point – and the title was theirs.
When Miles Dalton dismissed Exmouth opener Barney Huxtable for 50, leaving the home side 136 for two, it was mission accomplished.
David Lye went on to hit 96 before Will Murray got him out with the target down to 21 to win.
Andy Buzza (13 not out) and Max Curtis got Exmouth over the finishing line, although it was a hollow victory and both sides knew it.
"We would have liked to win the game and the title with it, but it wasn't to be," Sidmouth skipper Will Murray said.
"It wasn't a conscious decision to lose the game but deny Exmouth the chance to win the league in the process of stopping them winning points.
"If we had wanted to do that, we would have come off at 200 for three, as they couldn't have caught us then."
Exmouth finish second with Bovey Tracey and Plymouth joint third.
Bovey made hard work of beating Heathcoat by two wickets to send the Tiverton side back to the A Division, after two years back in the top flight.
Heathcoat made a real dash for survival in the second half of the season – they won four games on the bounce at one stage – but had left just a little too much to do.
"We are a young side who showed glimpses throughout the year that we can compete and beat the best sides in the Premier Division," Heathcoat skipper Chris Small said.
"Hopefully we can be the big fish in the A Division and come straight back up."
Also going down to the A Division are Sandford, who were rolled over for 89 by Bradninch – Gary Chappell taking five for 20 – and lost by seven wickets.
"We knew this season was going to be a challenge, and we didn't click on quite a few fronts," Sandford captain Matt Theedom said.
"Some of our younger players – Russ Discombe, Ryan Glass and Simon Ashplant – showed they are up to the required standard for the Premier. Hopefully, it won't be too long before the get another chance."
Dan Bowser and Craig Overton both hit centuries as North Devon amassed 287 for three against Torquay, who were bowled out for 138 in reply with Jamie Overton and Matt Dart taking three wickets each.