LAST weekend saw mixed fortunes for Sandford’s Cricket Club teams with the Firsts and Thirds unfortunately losing, but thankfully, the Seconds won to get them back in contention to avoid relegation after a disastrous first half of the season.

The Firsts were home to Exmouth and after amassing 285 for six in 49 overs, they would have thought their position at the top of the Devon Premier League would be safe. Alas not.

Unfortunately cricket has a habit of biting you when you least expect it, and as such Exmouth chased down a revised target of 267 in 43 overs for the loss of only five wickets.

They eventually finished on 270 for five in 41.2 overs. As a result Sandford dropped down to second spot in the Premier Division, eight points behind new leaders Bradninch.

Batting first Sandford were led to their total by a fantastic knock of 136 no from Lawrence Walker in only 123 balls including six sixes and 12 fours.

He was well supported by openers Adam Small (29 – six fours) and Aryan Lakra (24 – three fours) and skipper Jackson Thompson (32 – one six three fours). A late flourish from Lozzer, and 24 not out in only nine balls from Byron Knowles (three sixes), saw the pair add 63 runs in only four overs at the end of the innings.

286 for six looked a good score, but an early onslaught from openers Louis Morrison (49 – seven fours, three sixes) and James Horler (72 - six fours, two sixes), supported by Jason Niemand (37) and Dan Pyle (27) gave the Exmouth innings an excellent base.

The finishing power of Cameron Kidd (22 no) and Brendan Streather (28 no) then saw their side home with 10 balls to spare, 

Bowling wise only Byron Knowles 2-43 and Jackson Thompson 2-54 made any headway in keeping Sandford in the game.

Thanks to members of Crediton Rugby Club who sponsored the game and created a great atmosphere throughout the day, as well as being matchball sponsors and presenting Lawrence with his Man-of-the Match award.

The Seconds journeyed to Ashburton for an 11am start (because of the England football match), and surprisingly came away with an incredible win to help revive their aim to stay in C Division West.

Batting first Sandford scored 201 all out in 42.3 overs, thanks mainly to 84 from Archie Osborne (13 fours) following on from his 88 not out two weeks ago, 25 from Praison Alias (25 – two fours, one six) and young opener Joe Hopkins (24 – three fours) along with 33 extras.

In reply, after Ashburton reached 87 for two, Sandford’s stand-in skipper for the day Pete Steer, took the game by the scruff of the neck.

He took a hat-trick sending the opposition to 97 for eight. Although the Ashburton tail wagged to eventually reach 177, helped by C Yeo (41) and 43 extras, when their final wicket fell after 36.5 overs Sandford were very grateful to claim 20 precious points.

Steery eventually finished with 7 - 34 (6.5 overs), aided by veteran Brian Leach 2-51 (9). Well played lads.

The Thirds, suffering from a lack of experienced players, lost for the fifth game running when making the short trip to near neighbours Shobrooke Park Seconds.

Only skipper Alex Stevens offered any resistance with a knock of 63 (eight fours, one six) in an all out total of only 110 in 37.1 overs.

For the Park Jack Hookway took the bowling honours finishing with 5-23 from his eight overs, ably supported by Dave Manning 2-22 and Dan Puddefoot 2-23.

Although the Park lost three early wickets, skipper Andy Bridgeman (44 no) and veteran Richard Pyle (32 no) saw their side home with an unbroken fourth wicket stand 81, to 111 for three in only 29.2 overs.

This coming weekend the Firsts travel to Sidmouth (12.30pm start) with the Seconds and Thirds at home to Ivybridge and Exwick respectively both with a 1pm start.

Phil Matten