CERNE VALLEY 237-5 (19pts) beat WEYMOUTH 213-9 (7pts) by 24 runs

WEYMOUTH were defeated by 24 runs at relegated Cerne Valley as the retiring Simon Browne’s final game for the Seasiders ended in a loss.

Disappointment was more pertinent for Cerne, the village side failing to claim the 20 points they required to stoke their slim hopes of survival in County Division One.

Relegation rivals Shillingstone lost at bottom side Broadstone Seconds, leaving a five-point gap to Cerne who ultimately paid the price for four late umpire reports, costing a total of 15 points.

After a rain delay shortened the game to 41 overs per side, Cerne lost Dave Baney (1) to Jonny Armfield (2-53) who also went on to oust Lloyd Mitchem (17).

Weymouth struggled to take wickets despite the muggy conditions as Ollie Downey and George Chubb cashed in with a huge third-wicket stand of 133.

Chubb (53) was eventually removed by Jack Sapsworth (1-29) but Downey was immovable, going on to post a magnificent 115, including 17 fours and two sixes.

He was joined by sibling Sam Downey (30) but both men were removed late on by Browne (2-22) who recorded Weymouth’s best bowling figures in his swansong.

Browne’s men were fluent in their reply, Dom Webb (19) striking two sixes and a four until falling to the wily off-spin of Mike Collinge (2-21).

The more watchful Paul Collins (18) edged Dave Portch (1-46) behind as Weymouth reached 53-2 – a score soon boosted by the belligerence of Tim Guyett, who smashed 35 from 19 balls before perishing when attempting to hit Mitchem (1-60) for a third straight six.

Kieron Womble (43) top-scored for the Seasiders, while Browne (25) also made a good start but fell to Craig Kellaway (3-25) as Cerne closed out the victory.

Speaking to Echosport, Browne said: “There was an outside chance Cerne could avoid relegation. I had every intention of going up there and batting first but we had 40 minutes of rain before the game.

“Although the pitch was covered, I thought nine times out of 10 when you’ve got moisture in the air and dampness on the pitch, you want to put a side in.

“So I changed my mind and we put them in. Looking back, it was probably the wrong decision.

“We missed having Lloyd (Beals) and Harry (Mitchell) in terms of extra bowling, but Jonny came in and got a wicket with his first ball. We only took two wickets in their first 15 overs and they had a platform.

“They batted pretty well and didn’t give us a great deal of chances but the pitch was flatter than I thought.

“It probably justifies my reason for retiring because I’ve made the wrong call, we didn’t score enough runs and ended up losing.

“Having said that, it was a good-natured game. Cerne are a smashing club and a good bunch of people.”

Expanding on his last taste of cricket as a player, Browne said: “It was a good game – a shame I couldn’t finish on a win but we gave a good account of ourselves.

“We finished fifth and the plan was for us to consolidate having come up from Division Two. Hopefully that’s a reasonably good finish and will set the club up for next year.

“From a personal point of view it’s disappointing to finish on a loss.

“My batting performance summed up my season perfectly.

“I’d managed to get in, look like I was going to score some runs and just as I’m ready to kick on and start hitting some boundaries and get the scoreboard running, I manage to get out.

“That’s probably happened five, six, seven, eight times this season.

“I was a bit miffed. It would’ve been one of those nice situations to go in and have a decent bat at the end of your time.

“It didn’t detract from a good game and an enjoyable day. There was no Ben Stokes ending, I’ll leave that to the professionals!”