WAREHAM 169-5 (19pts) beat ABBOTSBURY 167-8 (6pts) by five wickets

ABBOTSBURY were dealt a blow at the hands of Wareham as they went down to a five-wicket defeat at Wareham Recreation Ground in County Division Four.

Fielding a makeshift side, the Swans were put in to bat after losing the toss but the experienced duo of Frank Pittman and Robin Potter kept the hosts at bay.

Pittman (46) was unlucky not to reach 50 for a knock that held the Abbotsbury innings together and he was eventually stumped by Wareham wicketkeeper Martin Upshall off the bowling of Christopher Rabjohns (3-31).

Abbotsbury’s top five batsmen all made it to double figures, but Pittman’s opening partner Potter (12) was caught by Ashley Hayes to become the sole scalp of Jonathan Darling (1-30).

Swans’ wicketkeeper Andrew Wood contributed 11 to the score before he was bowled by the impressive Charlie Parsons (4-26) as Wareham made inroads into the top order.

But there were solid displays from the hard-hitting pair of Kynan Brian (33) and stand-in skipper Chas Duerdoth (28), who ensured Abbotsbury set a target in excess of four runs an over.

Parsons cleaned up Ashley Harrow and Scott Wallace for ducks to limit the Swans’ total to 167-8 from 40 overs, which was boosted by a healthy 33 extras.

Abbotsbury started their defence of Wareham’s 168 target well as evergreen seamer Grafton Straker (2-18) snared the wickets of openers Ashley Hayes (1) and Paul Nelson (6).

Straker was backed up by the sharp Duerdoth (1-23) but the Swans failed to build on their early counter-punches as Harry Wright (82) and Charlie Parsons (26) took Wareham close to the winning line.

Ian Collison (1-44) eventually removed Wright but it was left to skipper Upshall (20no) to guide the hosts home to a crucial win with 5.5 overs left.

Abbotsbury, who stay fifth, are now locked in a battle for survival with three teams right behind them, the lowest just three points in arrears.

Royal Challengers Sports are a point and a place behind them with a game in hand, while Chalke Valley lie eighth three points adrift having also played nine games to Abbotsbury’s 10.

But Abbotsbury can reduce the 24-point gap to Sturminster & Hinton on Saturday as they host the team directly above them in the league table.

Elsewhere, Puddletown continued their stay at the top of Division Four with a 14-run success over Chalke Valley.