DEVON captain Neil Hancock was back on top form as Sidmouth thumped Bradninch by six wickets.
Sidmouth needed a lift after losing to Bovey Tracey last time out and beating Bradninch was just the fillip they needed. Hancock took four for 19 from 10 overs, and club captain Will Murray had three for 43, as Bradninch were bowled out three overs early for 153.
There were a couple of worried faces in the home camp after openers Anthony Griffiths and Josh Bess went cheaply – Griffiths to a fluke dismissal – but Ben Gledhill (31) and Hancock (44no) got over the hump. Victory leaves Sidmouth in second place with 28 points to make up on leaders North Devon. The game between the two in July 30 looks crucial to Sidmouth’s hopes of retaining the title they won last year.
Bradninch were glad of Gary Chappell’s input coming in at 54 for four for putting something respectable on the board. Three strikes by Hancock – including Tim Piper (21) – left Bradninch in need of rescuing. Skipper Ross Acton (26) and Chappell started to pull things round in a stand of 31, then Chappell batted to the end.
Chappell was last man out for 53 when he was bowled trying to sweep Will Murray. Sidmouth lost Griffiths in the second over when he deflected a rising delivery from Sean Nowak on to his chest, then saw the ball fall on his stumps.
Acton had Bess caught at slip, leaving Sidmouth 19 for two, but Gledhill and Hancock straightened things out by putting on 42 for the third wicket.
After the hard-working Chappell – one for 23 in 10 overs – got Gledhill out – Zac Bess (22) and Hancock got the target down to 44. Saj Patidar (27no) was the other not out batsman at the end.
Bradninch 153 (G Chappell 52, R Acton 26; N Hancock 4-19, W Murray 3-43), Sidmouth 154-4 (N Hancock 44, S Patidar 27, B Gledhill 31). Sidmouth (20pts) bt Bradninch (5) by 6 wkts.