DORSET travelled to the neutral venue of ISCA Exeter for their penultimate South West Counties fixture.

And they returned with the spoils to keep their hopes of winning the league for the third year running alive.

Cornwall came under pressure right from the start as Dorset chalked up a 42-19 lead after five ends, and they were still 18 clear at the halfway juncture.

Dorset maintained the initiative and were never overtaken as they secured a win on four rinks to earn a 13-4 points advantage, leaving them just two points behind leaders Devon.

The best individual rink performance fell to Dolphin player Val Baxter, Dorchester duo Sandra Hubbard and Sheila Baker, and Moonfleet skip Kath Desmond.

For the second counties game in a row, Desmond hit 30 shots (30-9) and gave Cornwall skip Barbara Jones and her rink no opportunities to get into the game.

The dominance of the Dorset rink was reflected by the fact that they won 15 of the 21 ends played.

Another high-scoring Dorset rink, composed of Sally Williams, Sue Maggs, Wendy Brown and Sue Dadson, dominated their exchange with Cornwall’s Christine Johnstone en route to a 31-12 thumping.

Sally Rowe of the Dolphin Club led ahead of Bournemouth threesome Linda Johnson, Brenda Streater and ever present skip Joan Halliwell, as they outscored the Cornwall rink skipped by Christine Perrin.

Cornwall won 11-10 on ends but Halliwell’s rink won on shots 26-18.

Dorset’s fourth successful quartet was skipped by Jill Bryant, who had Moonfleet’s Margaret Hooper and June Searle, along with Lyn Howard.

Their game was nip and tuck for the majority of it, but a couple of late end scores gave them a 20-13 advantage over Cornwall’s four led by Jill Thomas.

Last season’s successful Atherley rink – Val Farrant, Margaret Clapp, Isabelle Addison and skip Freda Yates – came together for the first time this season in the counties league and seemed all set for a win when leading 9-1.

However, fortunes changed in the space of the next three ends when the experienced Cornish skip Liz Bray retaliated with scores of three, four and another three to take the lead for the first time.

Yates and co could not shake off Bray as she gained the spoils in a 28-22 victory.

More disappointment for Dorset came when Bridport’s Frances Hewett, Pat Cornick and Edna Cumberland and East Dorset skip Janet Emerson, who had done all the hard work to eventually lead 11-10, crashed out big time over the final seven ends to lose 22-12.

Dorset now play Devon at Moonfleet on Sunday in a match postponed by the storms.

This winner-takes-all match will decide the outcome of the league title this season and, with home advantage, Dorset have high hopes of victory.

For Dorset, the task is uncomplicated, win the game on at least three of the six rinks.