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Last-ball win clinches Devon Cricket League promotion for Bideford

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 15, 2013

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ONLY a highly unlikely set of results can deny Bideford promotion in the Francis Clark Devon League.

They virtually secured a return to the B Division three years after their relegation with a thrilling last-ball victory at Axminster.

Needing four runs to win, Axminster's Steve Wakeley struck Alex Crisp's delivery to the boundary where it was caught by Fergus Bradbeer.

James Ford, the Bideford captain, said: "It was a fantastic game of cricket.

"They wanted 20 off the last over and four off the last ball and he was caught on the boundary. If he hadn't caught it, it would have gone for six."

After a 13th win of the season, Bideford are 34 points clear at the top of the C Division and 65 ahead of third-placed Ipplepen.

To be denied, Bideford would need to lose their remaining three matches without getting a bonus point while Ipplepen won all theirs with the maximum 22 points – by scoring 200 or more, declaring before 90 per cent of their overs had been completed and bowling the opposition out.

Ford will aim to secure the title in the run-in.

"I was pretty sure we were going to go up but not quite like we have done," he said. "We have only lost two games and one of those was down to rain.

"We have three games left and we want to go up as champions. One more win would do it."

Ford, the opener, shared stands of 48 with Dan Barratt (16), 52 with Alex Savage (22) and 40 with Matt Shepherd (28).

The captain thought Bideford were in trouble when he was ninth out for 76 with the total on 175.

But teenagers Alex Hannam, aged 14, and Josh Atkinson, 17, put on an unbroken partnership of 27 to take their side to 202 for nine.

With his off-spin, Ford then took four for 38 as second-placed Axminster fell three runs short at 199 for nine.

Barnstaple and Pilton went down to a narrow defeat in a thrilling finish to their B Division match against Ivybridge at Raleigh Meadow.

The visitors took wickets with each of the last three balls to clinch a three-run win.

After James Thomas (37) was run out by Charlie Horwood, Jeewan De Silva bowled Lee Cole (23) and Shaun Cole with successive deliveries to leave Barnstaple, after Ivybridge's 229 for eight, on 226 for nine.

Tom Popham (56) and Brady Saunders (59) made half centuries for Barnstaple.

De Silva top scored with 66 in the Ivybridge innings, with Jack Popham, Thomas, George McEndoo and Dan Donovan taking two wickets each.

There were defeats for Hatherleigh and Braunton in the A Division.

Hatherleigh could only manage 135 for nine against promotion-chasing Sandford and lost by five wickets.

Braunton were up against it after conceding 286 for eight away to Abbotskerswell and were bowled out for 172 to lose by 116 runs. Teenager Alfie Huxtable top scored with 34.

Abbotskerswell's win saw Hatherleigh drop into the bottom three, while Braunton are 34 points adrift at the bottom.

James Popplewell struck 54 and Ryan Bowden 45 for Filleigh but, at 198 all out, they were 57 runs short against Countess Wear in the D Division.

Andy Webbe and John Weeks both scored centuries in Bideford II's victory over Exeter III. Webbe made 164 not out and Weeks 100.

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