North Devon win battle for title
LUKE PETERSON showed his class with bat and ball to lead North Devon to the Stayindevon.co.uk North Devon League title.
The South African shone at Newton Tracey, taking three wickets and scoring 86 as North Devon wrapped up the first division championship.
Newton Tracey, themselves needing victory for a chance to clinch the title, were beaten by seven wickets after being bowled out for 141.
Captain Dan Bowser with 40 not out, teamed up with Peterson, guiding North Devon home after openers Tom Ansell and Dan Pickard were dismissed early.
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"There was quite a lot of pressure on me and Luke to knock the runs out," said Bowser.
"I knew if we could stick around and play sensibly, that was the key.
"I picked off ones and twos and he smashed it around.
"He's an all-round brilliant cricketer. He can bat, he can bowl and he can field."
Earlier, Peterson, a pace bowler with experience playing for Western Province, took three for 43 and Luke Ansell claimed three for 35.
Newton's Richard Screech was removed early, caught by a tumbling catch from Bowser after nicking a Peterson delivery.
The valuable wicket of Rob Gear was claimed for 20 by Tom Ansell thanks to a spectacular catch from Kasey Elliot.
"That was probably the turning point of the game," said Bowser.
"If Geary had got in to score, it would have been more of a challenge for our batters."
Elliot had an outstanding weekend having made an immaculate 91 not out for the second team against Bideford the previous day.
Phil Steward, with 45, was top run maker for the home side.
Tim Cook, bowling "little grenades" according to Bowser and Luke Ansell both took key wickets for the visitors.
Boosted by the runs of Bowser and Matt Dart, who have both had spells as captain, North Devon have clinched the title for the second time in three years.
"We have kept the same group of players, there's not been too much chopping and changing," said Bowser.
"Because we have got such a young side, seven or eight of the guys are unbelievable in the field. They throw themselves around.
"We have probably saved 30 or 40 runs in the field every game.
"We have probably got the youngest side in the league so to go out and beat a strong Newton Tracey side was overwhelming really."
Braunton's hopes of avoiding relegation were boosted with a six-wicket win at Bideford thanks to Tom Mitcham with 67 not out and Ian Roberts with 45.
Alfie Huxtable took three wickets as Bideford were dismissed for 178 with Matt Allin and Ian Hayter each making 43 for the hosts.
Barnstaple and Pilton, who have slipped to the bottom of the table, have a crucial game at Newton Tracey on Sunday.
Braunton finish their fixtures the following week at Hatherleigh who are in midtable.