SHAFTESBURY 194-9 (19pts) beat BEAMINSTER 176 (11pts) by 18 runs

BEAMINSTER gained a vital 11 points in their quest for promotion to County Division One despite an 18-run defeat at Shaftesbury.

Ross Baker’s men, occupants of third, gained six points on leaders Witchampton, who lost by 34 runs at Blandford, but lost ground on Puddletown who trounced Cranborne by nine wickets.

Just six points separate the three teams before the final three games, with two promotion spots available.

After putting in their hosts, Nick Hollely (1-20) and Daniel Swift (3-16) bowled an excellent opening spell as Shaftesbury’s top order struggled on a challenging surface with variable bounce.

Skipper Matthew Boatright (70) held the innings together as wickets tumbled around him.

Despite only three players managing to hit double figure scores, Shaftesbury closed on an impressive total of 194-9 from their allocation of 45 overs, boosted by 30 extras.

Dave Persey (2-45) and William Moss (2-27) took two wickets each while stand-in wicketkeeper Adam Moss took two catches.

In response, Beaminster had a flying start thanks to an explosive 53-run partnership between Chris Park (33) and captain Baker (22).

However, when this was broken a familiar collapse ensued as the visitors slumped to 78-6.

Daniel Spiller (45) and Adam Moss (21) rebuilt impressively and, helped by the tail, ensured Beaminster gained three losing points for overhauling 90 per cent of the hosts’ total as they were bowled out in the last over for 176.

Speaking to Echosport, Baker said: “It’s mixed emotions really. Obviously we’re disappointed to lose the game but we picked up 11 points.

“Considering the loss, it wasn’t too bad a day. Witchampton lost as well, so as we expected it’s going to be a really tight finish.

“Regardless of the defeat we’re still in the mix. We’ve got quite a nice run-in now so everyone’s still quite positive about getting promotion.”

Spiller, who made a key contribution in his first game of the year, was labelled the “hero of the day” by his skipper.

Baker said: “He hasn’t been available due to work but we had a couple of late withdrawals due to injury – Leo (Gurd) and Mark (Tozer) both got late injuries so Daniel stepped in and guided us past 175.

“He was the hero of the day. It was quite difficult facing the new ball with variable bounce, but once the ball got softer batting became a lot easier.”


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