Hatherleigh go up with a victory in Devon Cricket League
HATHERLEIGH defeated Chudleigh to confirm their promotion from the Francis Clark Devon League B division.
They needed only four points from Saturday's match to ensure their opponents could not beat them to second place behind champions Barton.
In the end, an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 60 between Rob Cockwill (32no) and Rob Fishleigh (29) earned them a two-wicket win and 17 points.
It was a second successive promotion for Hatherleigh, both as runners-up, and third in four years.
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Mark Lake, the captain, is already looking forward to a new challenge in the league's second tier next summer.
"I'm expecting it to be a lot tougher and we'll look to consolidate in the A division," he said.
"We might look at bringing in a couple of new players to try to strengthen the squad.
"I didn't think there was a lot of difference between this year and last year. The step from B to A is a lot bigger than C to B."
The batting is likely to be the focus of any recruitment drive.
Only three half centuries have been scored this season – by Hugh Romans (69 and 54no) and Gareth Tidball (57no) – while there have been five-wicket hauls for Lake, Nick Rogers (three times) and Cockwill (twice).
"It was only in the first game that we scored over 200," said Lake. "But we have bowled a lot of teams out for low scores, so we haven't had to score masses of runs, and they have definitely been bowling wickets."
The win over Chudleigh was Hatherleigh's 11th, more than any other team in the league's first XI competition.
Chudleigh declared at 178 for five to stop Hatherleigh getting any more than two bowling bonus points, although they would have needed to bowl them out for less than 100 to snatch second place.
Hatherleigh were looking jittery at 51 for five and 75 for six. But Lake teamed up with Ryan Davies to take them into three figures with a stand of 39 for the eighth wicket, then Cockwill and Fishleigh ensured they went up on a winning note.
Barton ensured they stayed out of Hatherleigh's reach at the top with a ten-wicket win at Barnstaple and Pilton who were bowled out for 111.
Hatherleigh can look forward to a North Devon derby with Braunton next year.
Jas Kalsi and Mark Lathwell helped Braunton stave off the threat of relegation from the A division in a three-wicket win over Paignton.
Lathwell, who has captained the second XI this season, was called up for the big game and took three for 26 in Paignton's 221 all out. Kalsi then hit 88, his fifth half century of the season, in Braunton's run chase, which brought a first win since June 2.
After giving Bideford a sniff of promotion with the bat, Josh King did his best to finish the job with the ball.
But despite his six for 28 in a maximum-points win at Ottery St Mary, Bideford had to settle for fourth place.
King's 111 not out off 48 balls in the win over Kingsbridge had given his side a chance of going up from the C division. They needed to beat Ottery and hope the teams around them slipped up.
However, wins for Stoke Gabriel, Ivybridge and Chagford meant the table remained unchanged – so Stoke and Ivybridge will be in the B division next year.
Bideford could have done no more as they posted a fourth successive win.
They made 231 for nine off 46 overs, with major contributions from Mike Young (45), Fergus Bradbeer (44) and Chris Luxton (42).
King then accounted for seven consecutive wickets as Ottery slumped from 57 for one to 102 for eight.
King, whose final figures were 9-0-28-6, bowled five of his victims had another lbw and ran out Rob Johns.
Alex Crisp finished the match, taking the last two wickets in 14 balls, with Ottery bowled out for 130 to lose by 101 runs.
Bideford would have been promoted as runners-up had they not been deducted five points for fielding an ineligible player in a match last month.
Filleigh will spend another season in the D division after their faint hopes of promotion were dashed by a 130-run defeat at Plymouth Civil Service where they were bowled out for 86.
Centuries from Dan Bowser (125no) and Craig Overton (102) saw North Devon end their reign as premier-division champions on a high with victory over Torquay.
Their partnership of 190 for the second wicket helped the home side to 287 for three at Instow.
Overton's runs came off just 103 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes, as he batted against his Somerset team-mate Max Waller, the leg-spinner, who took one for 47 off ten overs.
Bowser struck 13 fours and two sixes in his 163-ball innings.
Jamie Overton then took three for 17 off seven overs as Torquay were dismissed for 138 to lose by 149 runs.