CERNE VALLEY 168 (19pts) beat WIMBORNE & COLEHILL II 97 (6pts) by 71 runs

CERNE Valley continued their mid-season renaissance with a 71-run victory over Wimborne & Colehill Seconds at the Simsay Oval.

The victory is Cerne’s fourth in their past five County Division Two games, moving them up to seventh.

Stand-in captain Lloyd Mitchem won the toss and chose to bat in warm conditions.

Opening batsmen Russ Hurford and John Stiles started brightly but they did find it difficult to score freely.

Stiles (5) failed to live up to recent form and he was soon followed by Hurford (28) who disappointingly hit a full toss straight to the fielder.

James Ellwood and Solo Roper steadied the ship and played with their normal graceful style.

Roper (15) was the next wicket, being bowled whilst trying to progress the innings on.

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Ellwood (37) went soon after, top-edging a delivery to mid-off just as he was starting to look comfortable at the crease.

At 116-4, Cerne was looking for the middle order to see them through to maximum batting points and were assisted by the efforts of Miles Quick (14), Sam Downey (14), Jacob Browning (18) and the ever-present Mike Collinge (13) despite a fine 4-23 from Harry Reynolds.

Extras (24) also helped Cerne post a competitive 168 all out.

Wimborne’s innings started slowly and with only six runs on the board, Roper’s bowling resulted in a superb catch at mid-off by Mitchem, low to his right.

Roper (2-19) bowled a good length and line and the batsmen struggled to score as a result.

Roper was assisted at the same end by Cerne’s Evening League captain Dave Portch (2-15) who took the vital wicket of Chris Plummer (32), with a good catch from Hurford at first slip.

Plummer’s departure sparked a woeful run of 9-51 for Wimborne, with spinners Collinge (1-23) and Downey (1-20) prominent.

However, arguably the pick of the bowlers is the aptly-named Quick (3-17), whose recent form has helped catapult Cerne up the league.

Reflecting on a hugely positive afternoon, Mitchem was ecstatic about the commitment of his players.

He said: “Even though we fell short with our batting, we should have scored a few more runs than we did, we bowled terrifically and were exceptional in the field, once again.

“The whole of the team is playing well and the competition in the team is healthy.

“We are on a roll now and full of confidence.”

Cerne Valley travel to second-placed Blandford tomorrow (1.30pm).