BERE REGIS 171-7 (18pts) beat DORCHESTER 156 (9pts) by 15 runs

BERE Regis shook up the Dorset Funeral Plan Premier League title race with a 15-run win over reigning champions Dorchester at Bere Regis Rec.

In taking victory, Bere completed a rare double over Dorchester – the first team to do so since Broadstone in 2019.

It means former leaders Dorchester drop to second position, two points behind Poole after their title rivals edged past Wimborne by 10 runs.

Bere’s triumph is the latest twist to a fascinating season at Dorset’s highest level, with Poole joining Martinstown and Dorchester as teams to have topped the table in 2021.

On the field, overnight thunderstorms had threatened to eat into the allotted overs.

However, the umpires agreed to play the full 45 overs despite a later start time caused by the damp conditions.

Dorchester captain James Dunham won the toss and elected to field, hoping to utilise the bowler-friendly surface.

Opening bowlers Dan Belt and Josh Richardson both bowled tightly early on, Richardson (1-17) bowling Matt King (3).

READ MORE: Bere Regis blast to victory at Dorchester

But Rich Payne and Sam Goodhew saw the duo off before accumulating steadily back up to 87-1.

Dorchester turned to spin for their second wicket, Jon Legg (1-30) removing Payne (41) just shy of his half-century, having struck three fours and a six.

The pace of Simon Mitchem (4-53) bowled Cameron Robertson (15) shortly before Goodhew moved to a deserved 50.

Mitchem castled new batsman Tom Munnings (2) and then removed Goodhew for 63 as Bere boosted their score to 152-5 despite the tricky circumstances.

Rob Murphy’s cameo of 19 from 18 balls, comprising a four and a maximum, was ended when Belt (1-18) disturbed his timbers and David Lovell (4) perished to Mitchem as Bere closed on 171-7.

In a highly-charged second innings, which saw a feisty derby atmosphere threaten to spoil the game, Bere got off to a superb start.

The hosts reduced Dorchester to 26-3 as Murphy trapped Seb Carty (20) and Mitchem (0) lbw, after Payne had bowled Jim Ryall for a 16-ball duck.

Eral Anderson and Legg (9) helped Dorchester recover to 53-3 until Sean Walbridge (2-16) pinned Legg lbw, sparking a run of 3-9.

Mike Peak (2) and Belt (0) were next to fall in successive Murphy overs as the left-arm seamer claimed 4-29.

It left Dorchester on 62-6 and in dire need of a partnership to come from their deep batting line-up.

Jamie Barrett (37) duly obliged to aid Anderson (38) as Dorchester were forced into a second rebuilding job of the innings.

Walbridge then struck a big blow with the wicket of Anderson, given lbw, and suddenly Barrett was tasked with leading the visitors’ chase.

He received good support from Josh Richardson (10) until he became the fifth wicket to fall leg before, this time to Goodhew (1-34).

Bere did not bank on Dorchester adding 38 for the ninth wicket, though, as Dunham (19) cracked a four and a six to move Dorchester on to 154-8 and within sight of victory.

With 18 runs to get and still four overs remaining, Dorchester were slight favourites until Payne (3-32) had Barrett caught in the deep and Dunham pouched in the space of three balls to ignite big celebrations from the Bere ranks.

Speaking to Echosport, Bere skipper Brian Keegan said: “We’re just chuffed to keep our discipline in the field and do the basics.

“Obviously, 15 runs – it doesn’t matter whether it’s one run, 15 runs or 150 runs. You’ve still got to win the game.

“I’m chuffed we’ve got over the line twice against them but that takes nothing away from them.

“They’re a very consistent side and league positions don’t lie. They’re there for a reason.

“We’ve got to be more consistent over a number of games to hopefully get up there with them.”

Dunham, whose side picked up losing bonus points for coming within 10 per cent of Bere’s total, said: “We’ve lost three games this year and all in the 10 per cent.

“You could look at it like we haven’t quite got over the line and (Saturday) was one of those days.

“To be completely honest, I thought the score they got was probably 20 short, but then being 62-6 isn’t great in chasing.

“We got to the 42nd over with me and Jamie but just didn’t get over the line.”

Elsewhere, Bere Regis Seconds lost to Royal Challengers Sports by six wickets in County Division Four, ending a six-game unbeaten run.

Dorchester Seconds lost by 83 runs to Shaftesbury in County Division Two.

Dorchester Thirds earned five points after having to sit out their clash with Stalbridge Seconds due to Covid-19 guidelines.