STALBRIDGE 104 (6pts) lost to BERE REGIS 120 (16pts) by 16 runs

BERE Regis staged a nerve-racking defence of 120 at Stalbridge in a low-scoring Dorset Funeral Plan Premier League thriller.

Rich Cole’s men had been dumped out for 120, Dave Griffiths’ 45 proving the key innings of the game as Bere mustered a barely defendable total.

But a tremendous bowling display, led by Sean Walbridge’s stunning 5-10 from 9.4 overs, kept Stalbridge at bay just as the hosts’ chase looked to have gained momentum.

With the surface offering assistance for the bowlers, Bere would have feared the worst after winning the toss as their top and middle order was blown away.

Rich Payne (0) and Rob Murphy (6) nicked Stuart (3-25) and Simon Sweatman (2-18) behind to keeper Jon Fryer before two rapid wickets saw Matt King (13) and Jacob Lambert (3) perish with the score on 37.

Tim Goodhew (6) followed as Matt Bradberry (2-27) slipped one through the batsman’s defence.

Wickets continued to fall around the patient Griffiths, who hit four boundaries in his 76-ball innings before Howard Batten (2-13) bowled the left-hander to end the innings on 120 all out.

Needing early progress into Stalbridge’s reply, Crispin Brown (3-25) duly obliged when removing Stuart Sweatman (0) and the big-hitting Neil Ford (11).

Seb Carty was run out by a pinpoint throw from Murphy before the wily Walbridge entered the fray and claimed three quick scalps in George (11) and Will Coleman (6) plus Simon Sweatman (10).

Stalbridge were rocking at 59-6 and it soon became 75-8 when Colin Moore (7) and Andy Dike (4) fell cheaply.

However, Fryer (19) threatened to win the game with four boundaries until Walbridge dramatically took two wickets in two balls during his final over to seal a pulsating victory for the visitors.

Speaking to Echosport, Bere captain Rich Cole was understandably delighted.

He said: “We stole that victory away from Stalbridge, they looked like they were going to win when they were eight down and Sean sneaked in an extra couple of wickets in his last over.

“It was one hell of an afternoon with ups and downs.”

On Walbridge, Cole added: “There’s something special about him. We bowled to a plan and he executed it really well.

“But Dave would be the man-of-the-match – he was the difference between the two teams.

“Scoring those runs, being in the position we were in, gave us a chance.”

Elsewhere, Bere Regis Seconds claimed their seventh win of the County Division Five season, moving third, with a 30-run success over Symene.


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