PORTLAND RT 193 (12pts) lost to WEYMOUTH 202 (20pts) by nine runs

WEYMOUTH beat derby rivals Portland Red Triangle by a slender nine runs to claim maximum points from their County Division One battle at Reforne.

Victory was the Seasiders’ first away at Portland since their promotion from Division Two in 2018.

Portland rued the loss of attacking batsman Chris Leake, who was called away on work during transit to the match, meaning youngster Riley Marsh took his place.

Weymouth skipper Harry Mitchell won the toss and elected to bat first on a green Reforne pitch.

Opener Tom England, who scored 102 on his previous visit to Portland, and John Wilson (32) made a solid start, guiding the Seasiders to 55-0.

Big-hitting Wilson was caught by Ollie Whisker off Jon Cameron (2-39) having struck four boundaries and a massive six.

Portland made further inroads through the unlikely source of Callan Laws (2-30) who got one to keep low, bowling Kieron Womble (4) before rattling Joe James’ stumps for a duck.

Tom Reed (8) fell to off-spinner Jack Marsh (1-47) but Lloyd Beals was able to support England (62) past his half-century until the opener was trapped lbw by Joe Adkins (1-45).

Fluent scoring from Beals (25) and Mitchell (28no) ensured Weymouth edged over the 200 mark from 40 overs, despite Matt Randell (4-28) charging through the tail.

A target just beyond five an over seemed gettable for Triangle, who lost opener Tim Forshaw (4) thanks to a superb ball from former Portland seamer Sami Rathnayake (2-37).

Beals (2-40) pinned Ryan Price (16) leg before and the dangerous Whisker (24) holed out to an excellent catch from Wilson as Portland reached 73-3.

Chris Theakstone offered a return catch to Shafeek Urumancheri (1-22) and Laws perished to Graham Puckett (2-35) as Weymouth sensed blood at 108-5.

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That was until Portland skipper Randell was accompanied by Dave Adkins as the duo compiled what appeared to be a match-winning partnership of 51.

Their stand was broken by sharp glovework from Womble to stump Randell (44) off Rathnayake and Adkins followed when Beals breached his defences.

In a thrilling finish, late hitting from Cameron (11) and Joe Adkins (17) repelled Weymouth.

But Johnny Armfield (1-27) and Mitchell (1-20) held their nerve expertly to claim the final wickets for a narrow victory before rain closed in.

Speaking to Echosport, Mitchell said: “With the batting I thought the openers did especially well, they set us a really good platform.

“A little bit of a collapse in the middle so moving forward that’s something to work on in training.

“To build a partnership towards the end and in the last 10 overs where we went for it, I think was the difference.

“At one point we were staring down the barrel and looking at 160, 170.

“I know it’s a strength, our lower batting, but to actually do it was a massive bonus.”

Mitchell added: “There were a few drops early (in the reply) but when we consistently hit the stumps I guess we didn’t need the fielders!

“We let the pitch do the work and when we stuck to our gameplan that’s when the game swung in our favour.

“They got behind the run rate and towards the end we really strangled them, then we started taking catches and there was a lot of energy and buzz in the field.”

On England’s innings, Mitchell said: “He loves playing up here, gets on that front foot and drives all day, he’s a brilliant player, class.

“He was the glue in our batting, didn’t give his wicket away and everyone batted around him. Without Tommy’s performance we wouldn’t have had that platform to launch from.”

Opposing captain Randell said: “I thought it was a really good game of cricket.

“It was always going to be tight in a derby and you hope you come out on the right side of it. Unfortunately we didn’t.

“If we had had 11 players that would’ve helped, but it was nice to be playing cricket.

“Chris got called back to work last minute, it is what it is, but we responded really well to him not being here. All credit to the lads that played.

“We were really happy with keeping them to 202. We didn’t bowl the best we could’ve done but the fielding was good.

“It’s hard to chase at Portland as the pitch deteriorates. To get as close as we did was credit to the batting. I’m proud of the lads for playing with 10.”

Dorset Trade Skills’ Weymouth man of the match: Tom England

Weymouth match ball sponsor: Advoco Accountants


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