DORCHESTER 142 (5pts) lost to MARTINSTOWN 143-6 (19pts) by 4 wickets

MARTINSTOWN gave their hopes of promotion a massive boost on Saturday with a four-wicket triumph over title rivals Dorchester.

The hosts extended their lead at the summit of the Premier Two table and dealt a blow to their opponents’ ambitions of an immediate return to the top flight.

Victory for Martinstown was built on a solid all-round display, with Ryan Chase claiming figures of 5-27 and captain Ed Nichols hitting an unbeaten 56.

Speaking to Echosport afterwards, Nichols was understandably thrilled to see his men hold on to first place in the standings going into the second part of the season – the division now splits in two and the teams play each other twice more.

“We lost the toss and Dorch-ester chose to bat, but we had intended to bowl first because we had a full-strength bowling attack,” he said.

“Stuart Fry and Chris Read bowled great opening spells with pace and bounce, and we had Dorchester at 20-3 before Dan Belt (31) and Eamonn Scott (82) built a good partnership.

“But we took their last four wickets for one run and the spinners did a great job to take control of the match.

“They were 142 all out in 31 overs with Ryan getting a fifer, Liam Banfield taking 2-23 and Stuart 2-8.”

Nichols continued: “They came at us pretty hard when we went in and they have got the best opening bowling partnership in the league.

“Scott bowled Dave Herbert in the second over and Sam Kershaw was leg before wicket a few overs later.

“We were under a bit of pressure at 34-2 and then 69-4, but me and Ross Stewart (31) put on 44 before Belt came back on for one last try and dismissed Ross and Ryan in quick succession.

“But Liam and I saw us home and it was a brilliant day for us overall.

“It was nice to have that six-man bowling attack together for the first time this year.”

With six games of the season left Martinstown hold a 20-point advantage over Dorchester – Sherborne and Bere Regis make up the top four.

Looking ahead to the run-in, Nichols added: “We didn’t expect to be where we are, but if a few results go our way then we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”