A MARK Saunders hat-trick saw Lyme Regis condemned to a hefty 5-1 defeat at home to league leaders Exwick Villa in the Premier Division of the Devon and Exeter League.

Rob Fellingham got the consolation strike for Lyme, while Exwick also saw Louis Jagger-Cane and James Skinner get on the scoresheet as they remained on top.

Exwick opened the scoring early when a ball deflected off Herbst and left them with an easy strike.

Villa then doubled their lead just before half-time, again from a corner.

The second half saw further strikes to make it 4-0, before Lyme earned a penalty via a handball which Fellingham fired in, although Exwick added a fifth late on.

The result sees the visitors nine points clear at the top, but they can be overtaken should Newtown win their games in hand.

Lyme meanwhile, are fifth with 42 points, but could be overtaken by Witheridge Seconds, who are two points behind with two games in hand.

Lyme boss Gerard Hitchcock said: “We got a bit of a kicking but it cannot be helped, they are a very good side.

“I would not read too much into it.

“I think they will comfortably win that league when push comes to shove.”

Lyme host Upottery in the Seaton Challenge Cup on Saturday (6.30pm).

Lyme: Meech, Herbst (Rodriguez 30), Wellman, Knight, Fowler, Bailey, Larcombe, Turner, Fellingham, Warmsley (Holmes 65), Bowditch