DORCHESTER 82-3 (20pts) beat SHERBORNE 78 (2pts) by seven wickets

DORCHESTER began their Dorset ‘Thank You NHS’ League Division One season with a seven-wicket demolition of Sherborne at Dorchester Rec.

Due to coronavirus, the reigning Dorset Premier League champions are taking part in a shortened league format, with two groups of six teams in the top tier.

Social distancing remains in place and players must not apply sweat or saliva to the ball, with ECB regulations demanding a sanitisation break every six overs.

In bowling out a respected Sherborne side for 78, James Dunham’s men laid down an early marker for the campaign, despite losing the toss.

James Caldwell (3-22) opened the bowling alongside Dunham and the duo quickly exposed Sherborne’s top and middle order.

Hitting an extreme purple patch, Caldwell took an outstanding three wickets in one over, including the dangerous Josh Lawrence (17).

Luke Hancock (8) and Craig Jones (0) lasted little longer when falling to Dunham (3-34) and, when the home skipper bowled star batsman Emlyn Kuhn, Sherborne were reeling at 41-6.

Tom Harris (15) and Shane Pulling (13) led brief resistance against the change bowlers until Josh Richardson (1-12) removed the latter for 68-7.

Simon Mitchem (2-5) and Jamie Barrett chipped in with a flurry of wickets as Sherborne were dismissed for a measly 78.

Sherborne made a breakthrough with the final ball of the first over in Dorchester’s reply as Pulling (1-9) forced Will Caldwell (0) to nick behind.

Jim Ryall and debutant Seb Carty led Dorchester through that early test and constructed a partnership of 45.

Their stand was broken when Paul Hancock (2-10) trapped Carty leg before, and the same bowler then pegged Mitchem (2) in front as Dorchester stumbled to 52-3.

But the pressure of a serious run chase was never in Dorchester’s minds as Ryall (32no), who hit four boundaries, was joined by James Caldwell (19no) to comfortably reach the winning line.

Speaking to Echosport, Dunham said fielding first “suited” his team.

“They chose to bat and to be honest, we’d have chosen to bowl,” Dunham admitted.

“With completely different rules and length of game – 40 overs – we weren’t really sure what was a good target. Bowling first suited us and we bowled very well from the outset.

“They batted deep and we knew they had some big players who could score a lot of runs and change the game.

“Absolutely credit to the way we fielded and bowled. To bowl a team like that out for 78 is a big statement.

“We really enjoy playing against Sherborne and we showed our ability.”

On James Caldwell’s contribution, Dunham added: “James is very good with ball, bat and fielding. He’s turning into an all-rounder that we rely on a lot.

“He’s coming into his own, he’s class. He bowled very well, took three wickets in one over and made it look very easy.

“It’s great to have players like that on board. He was the star performer.”

After losing three months of the regular season to the coronavirus pandemic, Dunham was simply relieved to be playing cricket again.

“Just being back playing cricket, enjoying it and making it safe for everybody is the real winner,” he said.


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