ABBOTSBURY 142-9 (18pts) beat CHALKE VALLEY 137 (10pts) by five runs

A RESILIENT Abbotsbury staged a remarkable comeback to snatch victory against Chalke Valley in County Division Four.

With the covers protecting the pitch and the morning rain making a welcome transition to bright sunshine in Abbotsbury, play got underway on time, with Chalke Valley electing to bowl first.

The visitors made an early breakthrough when Hampshire Women county player Clover Crosse (2-25) nipped one back to bowl Nick Kneebone (1).

The incoming Kynan Brian (22) and opener Frank Pittman then moved the score on to 34 in the 12th over, before Chalke Valley medium pacer Johnny Stanford (2-21) made a double breakthrough, Pittman (15) chipping one to mid-wicket and Elliott Gunn (0) departing first ball with a big swing and miss.

Brian cracked a couple of fine boundaries before becoming Joe Weld’s (3-19) first victim and Liam Creedon (3) was smartly stumped by wicketkeeper Ian Lawrence to leave Abbotsbury stuttering at 51-5 after 20 overs.

Stand-in skipper David Worsdell resisted the Chalke Valley attack with a useful 27 but Simon Pittman (0) and Mark Beale (10) were dismissed cheaply.

With seven wickets down and only 69 on the board, the Swans were in danger of folding to a sub-hundred score for the second match in succession, but Pete Bustin’s quickfire 34 helped push the final total up to 142.

Chasing a modest target, Chalke Valley openers Joe Weld (25) and James Holland (50) seemed to be setting the visitors up for a straightforward win, although Holland was fortunate at times.

Weld had a reprieve when he was dropped at short cover but edged Liam Creedon (2-26) behind shortly afterwards for Abbotsbury’s first breakthrough.

However, despite the incoming David Brown (1) soon being dismissed by the same bowler, aided by Brian’s superb catch over his shoulder at point, Chalke appeared to be cantering to victory with eight wickets remaining and less than 50 required.

Worsdell brought on Elliott Gunn (3-18) and Krishnan Subramanian (1-17) back into the attack, which quickly reaped rewards as accurate bowling and at times questionable shot selection led to a flurry of wickets.

With opener Holland (50) still at the crease the odds were still in Chalke’s favour but a pivotal moment in the match came when he was run out at the non-striker’s end as Pete Bustin (1-33) deflected a drive onto the stumps with the batsman well out of his ground.

Brian (2-5) trapped Ian Lawrence (10) with his first delivery as Abbotsbury began to sniff a turnaround.

The Chalke tailenders edged their way towards the target, but the final blow was dealt by Brian when Crosse picked out Frank Pittman at mid-wicket to complete a five-run victory for the Swans.