CRICKET: Mixed fortunes for defending champions

Dorset Echo: LEADING THE CHARGE: Budmouth skipper Phil Morley LEADING THE CHARGE: Budmouth skipper Phil Morley

THIS year’s CM Energy UK Weymouth & District Evening League is employing a two-stage format, with the teams splitting into two divisions following the initial round of games.

The opening weeks of the league saw last season’s Division One joint winners Saggies get off the mark with a seven-wicket win against the Victoria Inn.

Replying to Victoria’s 76-7, Doidge (26) and Oliver (37) guided Saggies to victory in the eighth over.

Budmouth also got off to a winning start against PRT George Inn.

Matt Randell (40) scored the bulk of PRT’s runs as the islanders struggled to a meagre 58-9.

Their opponents had little trouble knocking off the runs for the loss of only one wicket.

Budmouth followed this up with a 29-run success over Wessex Gasworks.

Captain Phil Morley set the tone by opening with 51, supported by Neil Walton’s 48, as the batting side made 129-3.

In reply, Gasworks began with a spring in their step through Gibson (17) and Wilkes (40), but their dismissals, along with the key wicket of Orchard (8), left Millen (14no) too much to do.

Balti House began the season with back-to-back wins, including a narrow triumph against Wessex Gasworks.

New signing Dave Adkins hit an unbeaten 54 as Balti posted 93-5 from 16 overs.

Gasworks looked to be coasting to victory thanks to an early knock of 20 by Orchard, but a couple of wickets fell in quick succession.

Adkins showed his prowess with the ball (3-12) along with Nott (3-16) and the Gasworks lost by an agonising three runs.

Division One’s other joint champions from last year, Moby Dick’s Bears, were felled by Balti.

The Bears totalled a competitive 110-5 with skipper Laurie Whyte almost carrying his bat for a gritty 40.

In response, Balti lost three early wickets but kept up with the run rate and Gareth Vincent’s 41 not out helped guide them to victory.

After losing their first fixture, PRT George Inn triumphed in the island derby as they put the Royal Portland Arms’ bowlers to the sword, smashing 156-4.

Matt Randell top scored with 79 before Jon Cameron (2-16) and Lukin Wilson (2-26) contributed to a 65-run success for the George.

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