THE Dorset Funeral Plan League celebrated a red-hot summer of cricket where the Premier Division title was decided on the last weekend of the season.

The league’s presentation evening was held at the Leaze, home of the 2018 champions – Wimborne & Colehill CC.

The club has won the title three times in the last seven years and 2018 saw a real team effort.

Three of their batsmen scored more than 500 runs; Colin Randall (645), Mark House (548) and James Miller (509).

With the ball, three players took more than 20 wickets; Tom Caines (27), Ed Bartlett (24) and George Bartlett (23).

Skipper Tom Caines received the trophy from Nick Douch of the sponsors of the league, The Dorset Funeral Plan.

The runners-up spot was also decided on the final weekend and Poole Town secured the position for the third time in four years.

Poole possessed the division’s leading all-rounder in Badrul Alam who took 26 wickets and made 700 runs.

The team also had the top wicket-taker in all Dorset cricket; Joe Wormington. He claimed 41 victims during the campaign.

In Division One, Christchurch took the title having finished second and third in the previous two seasons. Hamworthy Recreation were arguable the unluckiest team as it looked like they would win the league for much of the summer.

But during the sun-blessed season, rain affected them at the wrong time and frustratingly for them they just missed out.

In Division Two, Marnhull came out on top – going in the right direction again following relegation from the Premier League in 2010.

They possessed the division’s leading run scorer and top wicket taker. James Vitali scored 781 runs and Edwin Ralph had 28 victims.

The runners-up spot could have been won by three teams on the last weekend but it was Weymouth who made it.

Simon Browne’s 477 runs were valuable and they have a young, hungry captain in Harry Mitchell.

The winners of Division Three had the biggest margin of victory in the county with 28 points separating them from the runners-up.

Shaftesbury managed this despite being unable to play at home for three months due to the hot weather affecting their outfield.

Runners-up to the runaway winners were Puddletown with batsmen Alby Stevens and Lucas Allen consistent through the season.

After several seasons finishing mid-table everything came together for Division Four winners, Sturminster and Hinton.

Runners-up in the division have spent a couple of seasons rebuilding and are now heading in the right direction were Wareham.

In Division Five, Royal Challengers Sports took the title

with Milton Jacob’s runs and Skariah Devsia’s wickets valuable during their first season in the league.

Martinstown Seconds finished runners-up but Bradford Abbas were unlucky because they had the same playing record.

In Division Six, Shaftesbury Seconds took the top spot – giving the club two titles in the season.

This was the first season their seconds had taken part.

And runners-up to them were Symene, a fine improvement on last year’s position.

Other awards included the groundsman of the year award that went to Hamworthy Recreation, the DACO Fair Play awards went to Martinstown in the Premier League and Shillingstone in Division One.

The club of the season accolade was won by Shaftesbury for two title-winning teams, losing just three games between them.

Finally, the player of the season went to Broadstone’s Luke Carter for his haul of 876 runs.

Nick Douch from the sponsors, The Dorset Funeral Plan, said: “It was another season of close finishes and it was good to see some new teams emerge and other teams bouncing back after lean seasons.

“Without the hard work and dedication of the committee and all the volunteers and umpires we wouldn’t have had such an enjoyable summer of cricket in Dorset.”


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