SHAFTESBURY 149-5 (18pts) beat CHARLTON DOWN 129* (8pts) by 8 runs (*reduced target of 137)

SHAFTESBURY snatched an eight-run victory from the jaws of defeat in an exciting rain-affected match on a very low and slow wicket.

The visitors got off to a great start when home captain Richard Bryant was out leg before to an excellent inswinging yorker from Kim Park with the score on 12.

Dorset Over-50s’ skipper Tom White (53) and Tom Elms (48) batted patiently, leading charmed lives at times, but they added 84 valuable runs before Pete Tucker (2-17) struck to remove both players.

Sam Roles spun the ball beautifully on the helpful wicket and picked up 2-29 as the hosts were kept to 149-5.

The Charlton Down innings began rapidly as Jae Miller pounced on anything short, but with the score on 27 Tim Langhorn caught a steepling catch at mid-on.

That saw Miller depart for 21 and then Gill was bowled when he played on to his stumps.

At 79-2, Charlton Down looked in control and on their way to victory, but the first rain break started to change the complexity of the game.

On the resumption of play following a further rain break, both Roles (42) and Matt Stevens (11) fell within a few deliveries of each other.

They had been beautifully cutting and driving with ease and defending cautiously, but the end of their 50-run partnership saw the score slump to 81-4.

Nick Voss (12) continued his good form with the bat to take the score to 103-4, leaving the visitors needing 34 from the remaining eight overs as they chased a reduced target of 137.

Returning opening bowler Maloney removed Voss and an unfortunate run out put Jack Eveleigh back in the pavilion.

James Pretty was then given out leg before but Matt Venn opened his shoulders, hitting 12 off the 30th over, though he had to stand at the non-striker’s end as the last three wickets fell for as many runs.

Charlton Down captain Tucker said: “I still can’t believe we actually lost the game. We bowled really well on an unpredictable wicket and until the rain came were batting so well. Sam Roles and Matt Stevens were in total control and didn’t offer a chance.

“The young lads will learn from this experience of a rain-affected run chase as it doesn’t happen too often.

“Special mention to an often unsung hero goes to James Pretty who bowled his eight overs for only 21 runs, and Jack Eveleigh who batted for nearly 45 minutes under pressure.”