Weymouth Longshots crowned

Dorset Echo: HALF-CENTURY STAND: Mark Hardy HALF-CENTURY STAND: Mark Hardy

WEYMOUTH LONGSHOTS 267-7 (20pts) beat Dorchester THIRDS 93 (4pts) by 174 runs

WEYMOUTH Longshots secured promotion and the Dorset League Division Five North & West title with an emphatic 174-run victory over a depleted Dorchester Thirds.

Needing to collect maximum points to guarantee the league crown, the former won the toss and opted to bat.

However, they got off to a tricky start as 13-year-old Tom Blair (1-28) had Joe Trevett caught by Louis Parkin for one before James Almond (7) followed when he fell victim to 14-year-old Matt Stevens (3-59) with the score on 14.

A half-century stand between Mark Hardy (37) and Nick West (28) steadied the ship until their partnership was broken when spin bowler Sam Roles (3-40) deceived West.

The Weymouth innings stuttered again when Roles had Hardy caught and bowled and then Mike Gomm trapped leg before off the very next ball.

The champions-elect were now struggling somewhat on 99-5 off 23 overs.

However, Longshots’ Hugh Bowden and the evergreen Neil Hardisty went on the offensive to record a superb partnership of 128 in the next 15 overs and turn the match in their favour.

Bowden was particularly brutal against the young Dorchester attack, hitting 15 fours and two sixes in his innings of 95.

Stevens eventually accounted for Bowden but his partner in crime, Hardisty, remained on 41 not out as their innings drew to a close on 267-7.

The county town response to chasing such a big total was understandably cautious given the average age of the team – Roles (30) batting soundly for more than 90 minutes to set the platform.

Dorchester’s first wicket fell at 36 when West bowled Jae Miller (16) and after Keith Deadman (5) departed with the score on 57, wickets tumbled at the hands of Sami Rahnayake (5-12) and James Almond (3-28).

In the end, Dorchester, missing the influence of skipper Pete Tucker, were all out for 93.

Tucker said: “Unfortunately I was unable to play in the final game after a late call-up to the first team, but the young players and some dads filled in to ensure the team completed a full season.

“The season has been dogged by some awful wet weather but once again over 20 young players have been able to gain a taste for men’s cricket.

“I would like to thank our scorer Yvette Roles and umpires Chris Gibbons and Pete Lucas, who have been incredible turning out for nearly every game. A club does not exist if it does not value its volunteers.”

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