SANDFORD Cricket Club’s Saturday First Eleven managed to lose a game from a position of strength.

Batting first against Plympton they totalled 199 for nine with Neil Bettis top scoring with 81 and there were useful contributions from Ryan Glass (38), Pete Steer (26) and Shaun Hawkins (22).

Matt Theedon (four for 39) and Jamie Palmer (two for 12) ripped through the home team’s top order to leave them on 21 for four which became 97 for seven and 158 for nine still needing 42 for victory with the last pair at the wicket.

However, once again Sandford could not get the last wicket and ended up losing a second match in a row.

The season got back on track with a comfortable six-wicket victory against Ivybridge. Having asked their hosts to bat Sandford restricted them to 195 for eight with two wickets apiece for Grant Ward, Ryan Glass, Pete Steer and Ben Clement.

Sandford strolled to the target with nine overs to spare with Neil Bettis (49), Chris Jelly (46 in his first game back with the club), Charles Fitzroy (44) and captain for the day Matt Theedom (undefeated on 31) thus consolidating their second position in the league.

The Second Eleven had a surprise defeat against lowly Tiverton Heathcote. Due to unavailability issues skipper Rory Miller opened the innings rather than bat in his more favoured position in the middle order.

The gamble didn’t pay off as he edged to first slip without scoring. Nigel Ashplant (59) and Simon Saunders (32) steadied the ship but from 107 for one Sandford slipped to 135 for eight.

Only some lusty blows from Mike Canning (23) and Jason Matten (15) and 28 extras gave Sandford at least something to bowl at.

Brian Leach bowled really economically and Harvey Blake took two wickets but Heathcote strolled home to win by five wickets with more than eight overs to spare.

A 57-run win against Barton in conjunction with Bideford losing at Paignton means that the Second Eleven are also second in their league.

With a much stronger 11 on the field the whole team looked better than the previous week. Tom Gidney made a welcome return to the top order and scored 115 playing some delightful strokes all around the ground.

Rory Miller (36 not out) and Tom Williams (30) and extras (41) added valuable support as Sandford posted 253 for four.

Barton never really challenged with Simon Saunders (three for 37), Harvey Blake (two for 33) and Josh Misselbrook (two for 15) being the main wicket takers. Tom Williams deserves special mention for two superb catches.

This weekend sees the First Eleven entertain bottom side Plymstock at Creedy Park so why not make a visit and enjoy the facilities on offer.

Mike Canning