Dartington and Totnes First Eleven secured the C Division West title with two games to spare when they claimed bragging rights over second-placed Ashburton with an 8-wicket drubbing at Varwell Field.
D&T skipper Harry Baxendale won the toss and elected to bowl on a pitch that unsurprisingly was wet given the recent weather. His decision looked a good one when Phil Snyman bowled Jake Pascoe for just 2. Snyman had a second soon after when he had Ashley Berry LBW for 1.
The Ashes then slipped to 38-3 when Lloyd White could only drive Jono Colegate to Joe Parker at mid-off to fall for 17. Ten runs later the fourth wicket fell when Dan Coles edged a Colegate delivery through to keeper Alex Winch to be dismissed for 4.
The hosts found themselves in even deeper trouble with the score on 52 when Colegate bowled James Rush for a duck. They needed a partnership to rebuild their innings and new men Arun Karthick and Steve Edmonds set about delivering.
Karthick in particular played some powerful shots and it therefore came as a relief for D&T when Chris Cook bowled him for 37 and broke a 45-run partnership. This wicket brought about a terminal collapse for Ashburton who lost their last 5 wickets for just 10 runs.
With the score on 103, Baxendale had Edmonds caught by Colegate for 12 and the returning Snyman bowled Will Coon for 2. In the next over, Cook bowled Tom Higgs for 1 and had Matt Coon LBW for a duck to leave Matt Churchill 3 not out.
Ashburton had been bowled out for 107 thanks mainly to 37 from Arun Karthick and a generous helping of extras. Snyman, Colegate and Cook all picked up 3 wickets to be the pick of the bowlers but were ably assisted by Baxendale and Andy Bligh, whose spell deserved a wicket.
D&T opening batsmen Snyman and Cook began cautiously on a tricky pitch and against some tight Ashburton bowling. Eventually the home side had their reward for the pressure they had built up when Cook was trapped LBW by Edmonds for 2. The second wicket fell with the score on 18 when Baxendale, on 4, could only chop an Edmonds delivery onto his own stumps.
This was the last wicket to fall however, as new man Colegate along with Snyman knocked off the remaining 90 runs to lead D&T to victory and the divisional title. Snyman, stroked his way to another league half-century to finish unbeaten on 57 with Colegate 30 not out at the other end.
D&T were the comfortable victors by 8 wickets with maximum points from the match which made the championship and promotion certain. Baxendale was understandably jubilant having secured promotion, ‘I am so proud of the team. They have played their hearts out every game this season and have now reaped the rewards. Our next goal now is to go the whole season undefeated.’ With two games left and still currently unbeaten, they are hoping to continue their extraordinary season with another derby game away at Stoke Gabriel next Saturday.