SOUTH Devon breathed new life into hopes of dodging the drop when they beat Kingsbridge by five wickets in the basement battle at Marsh Road in Division C West.

South Devon had only won once all season prior to Saturday’s meeting, but fancied their chances after dismissing Kingsbridge for 138.

It wasn’t entirely plain sailing towards victory, but a 99-run stand between openers James Allen and Mark Andrews made it difficult for South Devon to lose!

South Devon are still bottom of the table, but have cut the leeway between them and safety to 17 points. It was 29 before they dragged Kingsbridge down into the bottom two with them.

Skipper Allen guided South Devon to safety from a similar position last season and remains optimistic he can do it again.

‘Our aims for the final third of the season is pretty simple: win games of cricket,’ said Allen.

‘We’ve shown glimpses throughout the season of what we can do and now it is about applying ourselves and getting over the line.

‘We have another big game at Yelverton this Saturday – and we are up for it!’

South Devon spinner Noah Rider twirled away for a four-wicket haul as Kingsbridge faded from 71 for three to 105 for seven and on to 138 all out.

David Knowles (2-26) got into the middle order and there were frugal spells from seamer John Barlow and Allen that kept the pressure on Kingsbridge.

Plenty of Kingsbridge batters got in and got settled, but only Richie Carr (24) and Sam Rhymes (20) made it into the 20s. Twenty-six extras helped the total along.

Allen (47) was first out for South Devon, who lost Rider almost immediately. James Westlake (2-11) took both wickets.

By the time Andrews (38) retired the target was 16 to win and South Devon were on the home stretch.

Said Allen: ‘It was a pretty solid performance.

‘We started really well with the ball and bowled and fielded as a unit, which is something we’ve lacked at times.

‘The opening stand between Mark and myself put us in a good position.’