Cricketing pacesetters hit some unexpected buffers

Malcolm Cloete of Heathcoat CC batting

Malcolm Cloete of Heathcoat CC batting - Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Only a couple of weeks ago, it looked a done deal. Anyone with a betting slip that read 'Devon League Premier and A Division Double - Tiverton Heathcoat and Exmouth' could almost walk back into the bookies and ask for the money. Not any more. 

Champions Heathcoat have hit the Premier buffers, and just when we were running out of ideas about who might make Exmouth sweat in 'A', let alone beat them, up pop old rivals Budleigh Salterton and do just that. 

Skipper Lawrence Greenway was wary about the growing threat of Budleigh at Ottermouth, especially with Dan Pyle and Alvin Pollard unavailable at the weekend. 

Openers Jason Niemand and James Horler failed for once - spinner Chatura Peiris had Niemand for 24 in his 5-23 (8ovs) and Horler went for a third-ball duck before heading off for Devon duty in Wales - as Exmouth were bowled out for 82 in just over 20 overs. 

Sri Lankan all-rounder Peiris then scored 37no as Budleigh, who had invited all their sponsors along, came home by five wickets in 17 overs. 

It's hardly a disaster for Exmouth - they still lead with 147pts - but Budleigh (127) are up to second, ahead of Plympton (124), faltering Torquay (124) and Exeter (120), who lost at home to Barton by 22 runs. 

Exeter are the only other team to beat Exmouth, and the city boys are next up at the Maer this Saturday. Budleigh go to Kilmington. 

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Bradninch became the latest team to beat Tiverton, dismissed for 98 at Knighthayes, and after their impressive start, Heathcoat (121) are down to third place in the Premier, overtaken by North Devon (139) and fast-improving Sandford (135). 

Sandford, who lost three of their first four games, have reeled off five successive wins. 

But they had only four runs to spare over Cornwood, and if the West Devon side hadn't bowled 32 Extras in Sandford's 255-3, it might have been a very different story. 

Sidmouth are up to fourth after Isaac Thomas (61) and Dylan Hurst's brisk 79 helped them to 285-9 and a 35-run win over Plymouth. Sandford are up next at Fortfield.