Budleigh stay in the promotion hunt
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Promotion dreams are still alive for Budleigh Salterton after they fought back from a sluggish start to secure a five-wicket victory in the South Devon village of Abbotskerswell.
The home side made a fine start with the bat and opener Eddie Smout-Cooper was looking dangerous on 31 but he was stopped in his tracks by the bowling of Edward Doble, with Dylan Penberthy-Hutchings taking the catch.
Samuel Whitehead then snaffled the wicket of home captain Nick Watkin for just four but opener Charlie Hill remained at the crease, stubbornly blocking his way to an eventual score of 56.
The problem for Hill and his team was the absence of partners at the other end. Will Oxland bowled Samuel Carpenter for nine and there was a run out from Chathura Peiris. Oxland grabbed two more wickets and when Peiris finally found a way through the defences of Hill, Abbotskerswell were in serious trouble.
Kyle Rich struck a last-ditch 23 to lift his side to 180 and the Budleigh chase suffered an early setback, Penberthy-Hutchings falling on five. Oxland provided some stability with a steady 26 and Peiris added 20.
It was, however, all about Max Mejzner at number four. He struck an imperious 75 unbeaten from 74 balls, a knock which included 12 boundaries and very little opportunity for the Abbotskerswell attack.
Budleigh completed the job in 31.5 overs and the maximum points mean they are just eight points behind Plympton in second.
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This weekend should be another big opportunity for Budleigh to accumulate points, as they host a struggling Seaton side still looking for their first win of a very difficult campaign.
Assuming they do bag the points against Seaton, the big game in the Budleigh calendar will be the visit from Torquay, currently in fourth, on August 6. Torquay have some dangerous players and trounced Budleigh by 164 runs in June, so some cricketing revenge could be on the menu.
Budleigh will complete their season with a trip to Barton, home games against Exeter and Plympton, and a final-day visit to Exmouth.