DORCHESTER 168-9 (17pts) beat POOLE TOWN 154-9 (9pts) by 14 runs

DORCHESTER won a thrilling top-of-the-table clash with Poole Town by just 14 runs, to continue their charge at the top of the Dorset Funeral Plan Premier League.

Jack Owens’ (59) half-century helped the home side to a solid, if unspectacular total, yet the Dorchester bowling attack did the job required, and held the Poole batsmen at bay to claim the slender, but important, victory.

Dorchester were first up to bat, and the opening partnership was a successful one, fighting up to 57 runs before Will Caldwell (13) was dismissed from a Badrul Alam (3-23) delivery.

Dan Belt (7) came in and assisted Owens, but it was not long before he was caught by Richard Armstrong off Alam, with the score now on 72-2.

Eral Anderson (4) came in but did not last long, with just 10 runs added before he was dismissed.

Owens was the next to go, with the score now up to 101 as the home side fought on.

However, the partnership between Simon Mitchem (24) and James Caldwell (30) was the last fruitful stand for the home side, who were now on 136-5.

Mike Peak then went for a duck with no runs added, but the batting firepower had been mostly extinguished by this point, as the wickets tumbled regularly as Dorchester scrambled on to 168-9.

Yet the runs would prove crucial given the slender margin of victory.

The visitors initially struggled against the potent Dorchester attack.

Aryan Mehta (2) was the first to go, getting trapped lbw by Dorchester captain James Dunham (2-34).

Alam (1) was the next to go just five runs later, James Caldwell catching from a Belt (2-10) delivery.

Ciaran Quinn (7) was then caught by Nick Roe off Owens (1-13).

The home side’s innings was underpinned by a superb stint from opener Mike Stonier, who accounted for more than a third of their runs with 59 from 69 balls, finding the boundary on nine occasions.

Stonier’s knock was ended from a Jack Walklett delivery, with the score at a solid 78-5.

The tail did not give up however, and the partnership of Christopher Van Rensburg (26no) and David Miller (12) pushed the score on from 107 up to 140 before the latter was caught by James Caldwell off Belt.

With the overs ticking down, calls from the field to prevent boundaries prevented a dramatic victory for the visitors, as Dorchester sealed the 14-run victory.

After the match, Dunham lauded Owens and James Caldwell’s spell with the bat.

He told Echosport: “Another great performance, obviously with the weather (in the morning) we were lucky to play, so a big shout out to Jim the groundsman for getting the game on.

“But we were always confident of getting more than five points even if the rain came back later in the day.

“Jack Owens batted great at the beginning of the innings getting 59 and a big performance from James Caldwell with the bat as well, getting us to a defendable total.

“I thought that it was about par halfway, but one with our bowling attack that we could always defend.”

Discussing his side’s bowling performance, Dunham added: “I think there was a bit more pressure on us with the total, we were looking at probably 15 or 20 more at the beginning of the innings, but again one that I will always back our bowling attack (to defend), we fielded very well.”

When asked if it felt like a big victory, Dunham agreed, and emphasised the need to not necessarily always get 20 points, but grind out the results.

He said: “Huge, I mean I would be very surprised if Poole were not up there at the end of the season, when you look back at these fixtures at the end of the season, yeah it is a great 17 points for us to kick on our form.

“It is not about always getting 20 points, but grinding out the results. We have had a lot of close games this year at home and that is a reflection on the good pitches we have produced which offers a bit for the bat and the ball.

“We keep winning, so it shows it is not luck.”

Dorchester host Shroton on Saturday.