Plymstock clinging on to A Division place thanks to win at fellow strugglers Hatherleigh
PLYMSTOCK are clinging on to their place in the A Division thanks to a 13-run win at fellow strugglers Hatherleigh.
Hatherleigh were three off the bottom with Plymstock immediately below them going into the penultimate round of fixtures – now their positions are reversed.
Plymstock are three points ahead of Hatherleigh with a game to go and at least have a fighting chance of staying up.
"We finish with Sandford, who need seven or eight points to be guaranteed promotion, which won't be easy," said Plymstock captain Dave Orchard.
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"Hatherleigh's last game is against Braunton, who are already down so you would expect them to win that.
"Having said that, Braunton did beat Hatherleigh earlier in the season and with no pressure on them now who is to say it won't happen again?
"At least we have given ourselves a fighting chance of staying up and will give it our best shot."
Plymstock were all out for 128 at Hatherleigh and did well to get as many as that having been mauled by Simon Gillespie (3-33) and Mark Lake (2-21) in the top order.
Morgan Parkinson (28no) nursed the tail enders to get something remotely defendable on the board.
Hatherleigh started reasonably well until Gareth Tidball chopped Hal Kerton (2-23) on to his own stumps, then started sliding towards 72 for six as Orchard (4-21) and Parkinson (2-21) got into them.
Simon Gillespie (39no) led the fightback and in last man Nick Rogers (13) he found a willing accomplice as the target was whittled down.
Orchard thought it was worth trying spinner James Nicholls, whose first ball Rogers biffed for four.
The next ball bit and turned, caught the edge of Rogers' bat and was taken as slip by Orchard.
"The ball lodged under my armpit, but they all count," said Orchard.
PLYMPTON'S promotion hopes are over for all practical purposes after they suffered a 56-run defeat at Paignton.
Technically, Plympton could still do it if they win at home to champions-elect Heathcoat this Saturday and Plymstock do them a huge favour by beating second-placed Sandford.
Stopping Sandford getting the six points they need in bonuses is likely to be the problem though and Plympton skipper Jeremy Williams isn't building up his hopes too high.
If Plympton finish third it will be a springboard into next season and another crack at going up.
"I'm am really proud of the way the boys have come on this season but in all honesty we have been found out against the better teams in the division," said Williams.
Paignton recovered from 51 for four at half way to make 236 for seven – led there by Chris Kelmere with 76.
Kelmere put on 43 with Richard Ashworth (23) and 90 with George Benton (45) who carried on with Fanie deVilliers (30) to add another 46 for the seventh wicket.
Ryan Skinner (2-33) and Matt Gregory (1-26) bowled tidy spells with the new ball and Wes Hartsleif and Jamie Lee kept it tight.
However, Craig Donohue (1-52), Dom Mulberry (1-34) and Josh Mailling (0-41 off three) all got some stick.
Plympton needed a couple of decent stands to wipe off the runs, but they didn't come.
Mailling ended in credit for the day with 42 and Andy Walter made 24, but a succession of low scores after they went contributed to Plympton's demise.
Mulberry and Lee resisted at the end – putting on 40 for the ninth wicket – but the damage had been done by Dan Wolf (3-26) and others before than.
Connor Bryan needed just five balls to knock over Lee then Skinner to win the match with 13 balls to go.