DORSET suffered heartache after losing out to Lincolnshire in the Atherley Trophy final.

Following the 10-hour marathon journey and testing semi-final victory over Sussex (127-112) the day before the team had to recover overnight, before moving on to play the final, 20 miles up the road at Melton Mowbray, to tackle the experienced and in-form Lincolnshire side.

Changes were deployed as Dorset left space for international Julie Leake to play in Halliwell’s rink.

Leake having only left the green an hour earlier after narrowly losing her national singles semi-final.

The match opened in fine style for Lincolnshire as they opened up a 20-shot lead after only five of the 21 ends of play, and it seemed Dorset were to be blown away without a fight.

However, as the dust settled, it became apparent that Dorset were in fact making headway on four rinks but two rinks were in deep trouble and unable to keep sufficiently in touch to minimise the overall deficit.

Arnaud, Mapes, Leake and Halliwell took on the Lincolnshire rink skipped by Penny Strong and gained shots on 13 ends to grind out a very creditable 22-14 result.

The Lincolnshire skip Olive Wells was paired with Dorset four – Hudson, Messer, Osborne and Dadson – and Wells had to settle for second best as Dadson piled up the shots to lead 22-7 before stumbling over the winning line at 22-13.

The combined 17-shots advantage to Dorset gained by Halliwell and Dadson was cancelled out, when the Dorset’s quartet of Daters, Cornick, Smith and Lacey were swamped by the powerful Lincolnshire rink skipped by Gloria Harvey who stormed 13 shots clear before Dorset got on the board.

To their credit, Lacey and co endeavoured to compete and won nine ends during the match to accumulate 11 shots to offset the final Lincolnshire tally of 29.

A third Dorset rink gained a result when Desmond, Hooper, Crawford and skip Howard got the better of Lyn Mountain who had to concede defeat to the Dorset quartet by 20 shots to 16.

Lincolnshire retaliated when the rink skipped by Jill Edson led 16-3 at the midpoint of their game, but thanks to a spirited response from Dorset’s quartet of Williams, Pinnell, Evans and skip Cresswell , the defeat was limited to a manageable 23 shots to 17.

The short straw for Dorset fell to Maggs, Lunn, Lawford and skip Emerson who faced top Lincolnshire rink skipped by international Chelsea Tomlin supported at number three by fellow England International Ruby Hill.

The combined fire power of the opponent left Dorset reeling who at one spell lost nine consecutive ends en route to a 31-9 battering.

Although Dorset had won on three of the six rinks by a combined advantage of 21 shots, the losing three rinks were adrift by a decisive tally of 46 shots.

The challenging weekend left Dorset as national runners-up for a third time in their history together with being national winners in 2009 and 2013.

Their latest success means that Lincolnshire have now landed this top team competition for a record seventh time.