CHALKE VALLEY 161-4 (18pts) beat ABBOTSBURY 160-7 (6pts)

ABBOTSBURY safely avoided relegation from County Division Four despite defeat at Chalke Valley.

The Swans started the final match of the season requiring five points to be certain of avoiding the drop into Division Five.

Skipper Simon Pengelly continued his impressive knack of winning the toss and opted to bat first hoping to accrue maximum batting points.

Pengelly (9) partnered Ashley Harrow (4) against the opening Chalke Valley opening bowlers Matthew Irvine (1-45) and Joshua Goodchild (2-28) but was first to fall when a mistimed pull shot in the fourth over provided an easy catch for Ned Holland.

Nick Kneebone joined Harrow at the crease but tight bowling ensured a glacial scoring rate and when Harrow’s tenure was ended by Goodchild in the 12th over only 22 runs had been scored.

Chas Duerdoth (25) injected some much-needed impetus by taking advantage of a loose over by Matthew Roberts (0-21) but his innings was cut short when he top edged Ian Lawrence (1-23) to mid-wicket.

Kynan Brian (14) found the boundary twice but when he was bowled by John Parsons (1-11) the Swans had only secured one batting point at 78 for 4 with 11 overs remaining.

David Worsdell (9) was next to depart but with points needed Kneebone (42) finally released the shackles, with the first over of Goodchild’s second spell being smashed for 20 runs.

Frank Pittman (11no) and Andrew Wood (11no) also hit some late boundaries with a whopping 62 runs scored from the final five overs as Abbotsbury posted 160 with four batting points secured.

In reply, Chalke Valley batsmen Anthony Mercer and Ian Lawrence made good progress in building an opening stand of 75 before Mercer (25) was bowled by Pete Lawrence (1-26) having earlier survived a sharp chance off Duerdoth that flew through the slip cordon.

Further success was to elude the Abbotsbury attack though and with more chances not being taken in the field the home side moved on to 131 before Duerdoth (3-32) caught and bowled Goodchild (31).

With the Swans sniffing a dramatic fightback Chalke Valley slipped to 131 for 4 but despite a strong early appeal for lbw Ian Lawrence (84no) could not be displaced and safely carried his side to victory with nine overs to spare.

However, the six points secured by Abbotsbury ensured that they retained their Division 4 status for next season, with Cerne Valley Seconds and Royal Challenger Sports making the drop down.