FOLLOWING last week’s disappointing defeat at home to Exmouth by eight wickets, Sandford needed to bounce back as quickly as possible against second placed Bradninch at Creedy Park on Saturday, August 5, to maintain their place at the top of the Devon League Premier Division.

With bad weather reducing the match to only 29 overs per side, skipper Jackson Thompson managed to win the toss yet again and asked Bradninch to bat first.

Former Sandford player Andy Buzza opened the innings for the visitors, but was out in the first over from Matt Jeacock’s bowling without scoring.

Before too long Bradninch had slipped to 42-4, then 64-5 with Jake Griffiths and Dikshu Negi both claiming a couple of wickets each.

A stand of 41 for the sixth wicket between Bradninch’s overseas player, Yuvraj Singh 33 and Joshua Farley 31, gave some backbone to the Bradninch innings, but they were eventually dismissed for 141 after only 24.4 of their 29 overs.

Skipper Thompson ripped through the late order taking four wickets for only 15 runs from 4.4 overs.

Negi finished with 2-25 from six and Jake Griffiths 2-35 from four.

In reply Sandford lost an early wicket, and were soon 20-2 in reply. However, a third wicket stand of 81 between Adam Small 35 and Dikshu Negi 54 started to swing things Sandford’s way.

However, Small’s departure saw four wickets fall for only 18 runs, and it came down to eight runs to win off the last over.

Thankfully Harrison Jones smacked the first two balls for fours and Sandford ended up winning by four wickets to claim 19 valuable points, with Bradninch only getting five.

Youngster James Theedom, who despite bowling two tight overs for only five runs, and also batting at number five, held his nerve whilst others departed around him, to finish on 13 not out and help guide his team to victory.

With the game between third placed Cornwood and fourth placed Sidmouth falling foul to the weather, and both teams being awarded 10 points each, the win was even more important, as this meant Sandford increased their lead at the top of the Premier Division to 22 points, with Cornwood now second, Bradninch third and Sidmouth remaining fourth, both 24 points behind Sandford, with only four games remaining.

In the B Division, I’m afraid it was yet again bad news, as Sandford’s Second team travelled to next to bottom Seaton, and came away with a 78 run loss. Having beaten Seaton earlier in the season at Creedy Park, the boys travelled in hope, but yet again the bowling let them down.

Playing in the higher league, the Seconds have really struggled to stop the opposition scoring runs.

Although the game was reduced to 34 overs per side, Seaton rattled up 224-7 from their allotment with Damian Baxter 79, Matt Hewer 46 and Adam Bilston 53 creating most of the havoc.

First team bowler Jamie Palmer, playing his first game back after a period on the sidelines due to injury, claimed 2-27 from his seven overs, and Tudor Morgan-Huggett also claimed two wickets, however at some expense, with 40 runs coming off of only four overs.

In response Sandford never really threatened to overhaul the Seaton total. Despite Ryan Glass 21, Skipper Chris Jelley 32, Tyler Morgan-Huggett 20 and Archie Osborne 27 not out, all getting started, but none were able to keep up with the required run rate.

In the end Sandford’s innings closed on 146-5, and in doing so only claimed six points.

This result leaves the Seconds bottom of the B division, some 14 points from safety with only four games remaining.

The Thirds match at Axminster was called off early on Saturday morning due to the inclement weather. The 10 points they were awarded for the cancellation still keeps them top of H Division East, but now only 17 points clear of second placed Devon Medics, who were lucky enough to claim the full 20 points.

Their game against Barnstaple and Pilton Thirds was called off because B and P conceded the game as they were unable to raise a team.

So with only three games left in this division, who gets promoted could come down to the last game of the season when Sandford entertain the Medics at Creedy Park.

Saturday, August 12 sees the First XI travel to bottom club North Devon at Instow, with a 12.30pm start. The Seconds are at home to Ipplepen with a 12.30pm start and the Thirds are at home to Culmstock Seconds with a 1pm start.

Phil Matten