DORCHESTER 105-8 beat POOLE TOWN 101 by two wickets

DAZZLING Dorchester claimed back-to-back titles for the first time in their 165-year history with a two-wicket success over rivals Poole Town at Dorchester Rec.

In a low-scoring game, Dorchester lost a flurry of late wickets close to the victory line before Dorset all-rounder James Caldwell charged down the pitch to drive the winning boundary.

Dorchester’s win sees them clinch the mini Dorset ‘Thank You NHS’ League Division One title, backing up their Dorset Funeral Plan Premier League triumph in 2019.

It has been a remarkable two years for Dorchester, who are now unbeaten in nine games since losing at Poole late last season.

Adding to the celebrations, the county town side’s second team beat Verwood to lift the Division Three title.

Those watching the first team at the Rec saw more action than they had bargained for after Dorchester bowled a strong Poole side out for 101.

Alex Allum and Aryan Mehta (29) put on 44 for the first wicket as scoring proved difficult on a pitch conducive to spin.

When seamer Josh Richardson (3-24) prised out Mehta, Poole collapsed when losing all 10 wickets for 57 runs.

Richardson trampled through Poole’s top order, bowling Allum (17) and ousting key man Badrul Alam (13) as Dorchester reduced Town to 67-3.

Poole recovered to 89-3 through Richard Armstrong (8) and Luc Kear (15) but Dorchester took the next three scalps without conceding.

Armstrong perished to off-spinner Jamie Barrett (3-7) before Chris Mitchell (0) was run out first ball and Lewis Marais (0) fell to the off spin of Ben Thompson (2-5).

Barrett and Thompson dovetailed to good effect in mopping up Poole’s tail, while James Kirk was run out as Poole set a vulnerable 102 target.

Dorchester’s reply was stunted by the loss of regular wickets as Scott Peach (2) and Seb Carty (7) were dismissed cheaply.

Spinner Dan Jackson (2-36) then collected the wickets of Jim Ryall (15) and Richardson (7) to leave the hosts on 52-4.

Simon Mitchem (19) and Caldwell dug in to break the back of the chase, adding 27 before Joe Wormington (1-31) dismissed the former.

Will McKay (14) thumped a six and a four in a 14-ball cameo as Dorchester looked to finish the game quickly, until he nicked seamer Kirk (3-9) behind.

On the brink of victory at 94-6, Dorchester wobbled as Kirk removed Barrett (3) and Nick Roe (0) in quick succession.

However, a wide brought the scores level and Caldwell did the rest, advancing down the wicket to Jackson to cream a textbook cover drive and delight Dorchester’s large contingent of supporters.

Speaking to Echosport, captain James Dunham thanked Dorchester’s home faithful for their support.

“The amount of support we’ve had is incredible,” he said.

“To win the top division and retain it, I don’t think it’s ever been done before for Dorchester, so I’m really proud of the boys and the club.”

Dunham added: “If I’m honest at halfway I thought (Poole) were 20 or 30 short but as the game went on it was probably a par score.

“Poole bowled very well, restricted us to not scoring many runs at all and just the way they went about defending that total was credit to them. Good luck to them for next year.

“We did make hard work of it, losing wickets at the end. I had my pads on at the end, which is never a good sign!

“That’s where you need everyone to chip in a score, it’s crucial when you’re chasing 102 and losing wickets.

“The pitch was hard to get the ball through the infield and Poole set good fields – it made it hard to hit the boundary, but we won the game and that’s all that matters.”

Reflecting on the season a whole, Dunham said: “In April, May I didn’t think we were going to play at all. At some point we were preparing for no cricket.

“Credit to the DCB for organising it. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and the teams we’ve played against have also.”