Belstone v Newton Tracey
Belstone's 15-run win eases relegation worries
With the North Devon League Division One season approaching its climax and six teams separated by just a few points, the battle is on to avoid relegation. Two of the teams involved, Belstone and Newton Tracey, met at Rew Meadow on Sunday, and not surprisingly after Belstone’s narrow one-wicket win earlier in the season, another close game resulted. Newton Tracey skipper Richard Screech won the toss and put the home team in to bat under overcast skies with a slow outfield. For the second Sunday in a row the Belstone openers were involved in an early run out, this time when Phil Woods and Phil Hatton found themselves both at the same end arguing over a second run – Hatton was the loser, run out for a duck. Woods and Dan Fogerty rebuilt slowly, putting on 56 before Fogerty was bowled by Phil Steward for run-a-minute 28. Woods was out shortly afterwards for 26 but then another useful stand of 45 for the fifth wicket between Ryan Dennis and Mark Whiteside (15) took the score to 116 for five. Robert Gear dropped onto a nagging length, giving little away and picking up the final four wickets to fall in an eight over spell that conceded just 29 runs. Dennis was seventh out for a well-crafted and patient 42, scored off 71 balls with four 4s, and a final over that yielded 11 runs saw the 40 over total reach 160 for eight.
After five overs of the Newton Tracey reply their score of 10 for one mirrored exactly the Belstone start. Graham Moore (61 balls for 24) and Keiran Soper (16) battled through most of the economical spells of new ball bowlers Harry Bushin (8-2-22-2) and Ryan Denis (8-3-18-1) but where both out by the time the score had reached 47 for four. The next phase of the game was dominated by Martin Gear whose attacking batting swung the match firmly towards the visitors – he dominated a stand of 62 for the sixth wicket with Steward (11) hitting six 4s and four 6s. Newton Tracey needed only 31 to win with five wickets in hand and plenty of overs left when Phil Dennis, playing his first game of the season, bowled his only over of the game. It went for 15 runs but also included the crucial wicket of Gear, tapped leg before for a fine 69, scored off just 59 balls. With his reluctant departure the match swung back towards Belstone and indeed the last three wickets fell with no addition to the score of 145, Whiteside polishing things off with three for 12 as Woods took two more catches to add to two at the top of the innings, giving Belstone their second successive League win, by 15 runs.