Photo – Ryan Dennis reaching 100 (on the way to 199) at Westleigh

Ever since Belstone Cricket Club were promoted to Division One of the North Devon League at the end of the 2014 season we have finished in mid table at best and have, on occasion, just escaped relegation with a late victory or another team being penalised for not raising a side. Not this summer.

Six consecutive Sunday afternoon wins – our best ever run in the top division – have put the team at the top of the table. We have beaten all the other seven sides at least once, smashing several batting records in the process . . . and, unusually, have not lost a game to the weather all summer. It all comes down to the last game of the season, away at Heathcoat on Sunday 4 September, which we must win to be crowned champions (if it should be rained off that would do, we would be top). A defeat would allow second placed Westleigh to just overtake us. So, why not have a day out to the Tiverton area, then you can drop in to support the team and watch the game taking place within the grounds of the National Trust property at Knightshayes.

Here’s how we won the last six matches:
17 July Beat Westleigh by 138 runs. Belstone 368 for 5, Westleigh 230 all out. This is the highest total we have ever made since the club was formed in 1993 – and it only took 35 overs of batting, whereas most matches are 40 over affairs. Ryan Dennis hit 199, the second highest individual score ever made and put on 268 runs for the second wicket with his brother (and skipper) Matt, itself a new highest second wicket (and all-wicket) record.
24 July Beat Bratton Fleming by 4 wickets. Bratton Fleming 183 all out, Belstone 184 for 6.
31 July Beat Heathcoat by 5 runs. Belstone 164 all out, Heathcoat 159 for 9.
7 Aug Beat Newton Tracey by 121 runs. Belstone 297 for 9, Newton Tracey 176 for 7. This is the seventh highest total we’ve made since 1993. Richard Drake hit 146, the highest of his seven centuries for the club.
14 Aug Beat Hatherleigh by 82 runs. Belstone 309 for 7, Hatherleigh 227 all out. This is the fourth highest total we’ve made since 1993 and the first time we have beaten Hatherleigh in the NDL Division One.           
21 Aug Beat Newton Tracey by 118 runs. Belstone 223 all out, Newton Tracey 105 all out. Ryan Dennis hit 142 of our runs, including 22 boundaries and 4 sixes.
Chris Walpole

Ice creams all round at Bideford after the Westleigh win; left to right back, Matt Dennis, Sam Palmer, Richard Drake, Dan Fogerty, Tom Pearce, Chris Walpole;
l-r crouching, Ryan Dennis, James Ewen, Harry Bushin; front Tom Boother
Photo Tom Boother