BEAMINSTER 159-7 (5pts) lost to WEYMOUTH 160-3 (18pts) by seven wickets

WEYMOUTH sealed third place in Dorset ‘Thank You NHS’ League Division Two Group B with a comfortable seven-wicket victory at Beaminster.

Harry Mitchell’s men will now visit third-placed Group A side Winton in a play-off on Saturday.

The Seasiders performed well in all departments on a poignant day for the hosts.

Prior to play, a minute’s applause was held for the late David Groves, a staunch Beaminster supporter who passed away in lockdown, with his friends and family members joining the tribute.

As a further mark of respect, all players wore green armbands – a nod to Groves’ beloved Yeovil Town.

When play began, Beaminster batted first but Graham Puckett (2-14) claimed two early wickets.

In-form Richie Runyard (9) was promoted to open after scoring 71 at Stalbridge, only to belt a full toss to a stooping Tim Guyett at cover.

Ali Crawford (12) then skied a catch to mid-on, Dom Webb superbly pouching a difficult chance at 29-2.

Beaminster captain Ross Baker (17) rebuilt well with Chris Park (14), both men hitting solid knocks until Neil Walton (3-29) bowled the duo.

Weymouth then introduced spinners Harry Mitchell (1-27) and Shafeek Urumancheri (1-26) but encountered Lewis Keenan (15) and Simon Jones (23) in good touch.

Jones, in particular, showed exquisite timing in lofting Mitchell for an effortless six over cover before Urumancheri held a fine return catch to remove the all-rounder after Keenan perished to Mitchell.

At 110-6, Beaminster were indebted to a blistering knock from Dave Persey, who hit three fours and two sixes to finish unbeaten on 35, well supported by Adam Moss (14), as the hosts closed on 159-7.

In reply, Weymouth boosted Urumancheri from number 10 to open the batting and the Indian all-rounder responded brilliantly with some crisp hitting.

He guided the Seasiders to 41-0 with Joe James (23) before the accuracy of Jones (2-25) forced a double breakthrough as James and Webb (0) succumbed.

With Weymouth on 58-2, Urumancheri found an ally in Walton and the fluent pair quickly took the game away from their hosts with a rapid 101-run stand.

Urumancheri (64no) was the first to reach his half-century, striking seven fours in a classy knock, while Walton hammered seven boundaries and four sixes in reaching 58.

Nick Hollely (1-33) clean bowled Walton for a deserved wicket before bowling a wide with the scores level as Weymouth coasted home with 11.1 overs remaining.

Speaking to Echosport, a delighted Mitchell said: “Again, I thought it was a near-perfect performance. Taking our chances was huge.

“Last week we took two early wickets and dropped four easy catches, but taking them this week is a huge stepping stone.

“Asking your number 10 to open and tee off, which he does and finishes 60-odd not out, just shows the depth in our batting.

“The opening partnership was very good with Joe, and Neil coming into a bit of form as well. The batting was clinical.

“With the ball it was a decent performance.

“Restricting them below 200 was a big ask, so 150 I was pretty happy with.”

On Urumancheri’s innings, Mitchell added: “You don’t have enough words for him.

“He always plays with a smile on his face.

“If you ask him to bowl at any part of the game, you know he’s going to take wickets and keep it tight. He got hit for 10 off his first two balls. To bring it back for five overs for 20-odd shows he’s a class act.

“With the bat, I gave him the opportunity and he snapped my hand off straight away. He’s a class bloke and cricketer.”

In defeat, Baker praised Weymouth’s bowlers.

He said: “Credit to (Weymouth’s) bowlers, they bowled really well in the middle overs and kept it tight, Neil in particular.

“Then we just didn’t take enough early wickets, that’s been our problem the last few games.

“We stuck at it, tried our best, but didn’t have enough and it was fairly comfortable for (Weymouth) in the end.”

Baker added: “We made a few changes at the top of the order but no-one again went on to get a 50. We’re getting there, and it’s an improvement.

“If it wasn’t for Dave’s innings I don’t think we would’ve got anywhere near 150.

“Simon bowled well after his injury but the rest of the bowlers bowled too many loose deliveries and we were chasing the game.”


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