Devon showed their best fighting qualities to end the Unicorns Championship season on a high with a four-wicket win over Berkshire at Exmouth.
After bowling out Berkshire for 86 in their second innings after tea on day two, Devon were left 228 to win – and a day and a bit to get the runs.
Devon made a 109-run dent in the deficit overnight, leaving 119 to make with eight wickets intact.
Despite a clutch of scares along the way – four wickets went down, narrowing the margin to 48 – Devon got over the line in the final over before lunch on the last day.
Victory lifted Devon from fifth to third in the final table. They only lost once all season – Shropshire getting the best of a soggy game at Exeter two weeks ago – and were just one win short of winning the Western Division outright.
Wiltshire beat Shropshire to claim the divisional title, with outgoing champions Cheshire second.
Skipper Bess said that, of Devon’s three wins this season, Berskshire was the one to savour.
“We were 141 runs behind on the first innings and you don’t normally claw back that sort of deficit,” said Bess. “The players all showed a lot of heart to fightback the way they did and get us back in the game.
“Charlie Miles and Trevor Anning bowled extremely well in Berkshire’s second innings to get them all out for 86 and put us back in the game.
“That gave us the chance to win – and Rob Holman’s 80 in our second innings improved those chances.
“At the end I thought Trevor and Will Sobczak batted superbly to see us over the line.
“There was a bit of pressure on, but Trevor knew what to do and batted sensibly.
“Will has been scoring runs for Kent second XI when he hasn’t been playing for Sidmouth and looks like he will get them for Devon as well.”
Berkshire 304-9 (JC Morris 88, RK Morris 59) & 86 (CL Miles 5-9, TS Anning 4-31), Devon 163 (JJ Bess 38, WJ Sobczak 30; MT Carter 4-50, SP Naylor 3-37) & 231-6 (RJ Holman 80, WJ Sobczak 35no, TS Anning 22no, BG Huxtable 33; SP Naylor 3-69). Devon (20pts) bt Berkshire (8) by 4 wkts