PUDDLETOWN 205-4 (19pts) beat CHARLTON DOWN 204-8 (7pts) by six wickets

CHARLTON Down clinched promotion to Division Four of the Dorset League despite a six-wicket defeat away at Puddletown, as third-placed Shaftesbury lost to Poole Town.

Puddletown’s Lucas Allen’s superb 122 not out, provided the foundations to the well-judged run chase to victory with nine balls remaining.

However, injuries to both 16-year-old opening bowlers Matt Stevens and Nick Voss, didn’t help Charlton Down’s bowling options, seeing them only bowl four overs between them and both having to leave the field of play.

Charlton found the accurate bowling of Adam Weir and Mark Hoffman difficult to score from with only 26 runs and the loss of captain Jae Miller for 14 to Hoffman, coming from the first 10 overs.

The Voss brothers could not reproduce their current good form and both fell with the score on 36-3. Weir (1-21) bowled Nick Voss (10) and Luke Voss (14) returned a simple top edge to Hoffman (2-38).

A stabilising partnership bet-ween Javed Gill and Stevens was brought to an end when another top edge from a miss-timed pull saw Gill caught by Allen off Clarke.

The Charlton innings looked in trouble with only 69 runs and the loss of three wickets coming off the first 20 overs but Stevens, 16, batted beautifully timing the ball through the covers and square of the wicket until a leading edge to Allen off Chris Ascott for 29.

Ian Doyle was then brilliantly caught at first slip by Chris Spiller off Clarke to leave the Charlton innings struggling at 115-7.

However two 18-year-old batsmen Jack Eveleigh (33no) and Jacob Holland (29) had other ideas and added 80 runs in only eight overs.

They pushed the score to 195 before Holland was bowled by Allen for 29.

Classic cover drives and great running between the wickets, were mixed with some thumping pull shots to all parts of the ground and some wayward bowling helped the score to end on 204-8.

Puddletown’s innings had a welcome boost with opening bowler Nick Voss injuring his back while batting and was unable to field and then in the seventh over Matt Stevens injured his ankle and also had to leave the field.

Allen and Hoffman took full advantage, with the latter (28) playing the defensive role and Allen (122no) the aggressor.

Their 50-run partnership came up in the ninth over and the 100-run partnership in the 20th over.

It was only James Pretty (0-26) who was able to bowl with good control against Allen who latched on to any ball slightly wide or short.

A double bowling change of Gill and Miller saw the Puddletown score go from 121-0 to 141-3 as Miller struck, removing Hoffman to a brilliant one-handed catch by Matt Venn behind the stumps, Weir was well caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Holland and Venn took a regulation catch to remove Thomson.

However, the veteran Barry Knight (21) used his experience to help Allen guide Puddletown to a good victory with only nine balls remaining.