SWANAGE 305-6 (15pts) beat PUDDLETOWN 88-1 by 49 runs (DLS target 147)

PUDDLETOWN capped a magnificent season with the County Division One title – despite a 49-run loss at Swanage.

Adam Barrett’s men have now been promoted in four successive seasons.

Their story is all the more remarkable given that they were only admitted to Division One following the withdrawal of Shillingstone.

Puddle went unbeaten well past the halfway point of the season before losing to Portland.

And despite a shaky finish to the season, which has brought three straight defeats, Puddletown’s incredible story continues into the Premier League in 2022.

Fielding a weakened team due to unavailability, Puddletown were put to the sword at Swanage as Mike Salmon carted a glorious unbeaten 124.

Mike Nash (60) and Mark Stacey (74) also smashed half-centuries as the Swans piled on 305-6 from 40 overs.

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Puddletown’s reply was solid after the early loss of Chris Eastment (9) to Mike Hernandez (1-13).

Matt Porter (31no) and Adam Barrett (35no) steered the visitors to 88-1 from 24 overs before rain forced play to a halt.

With the rain preventing any further play, Puddletown were found to be 49 runs behind on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern calculations.

All eyes then switched to the overall points, with Puddletown needing just nine for the title and only earning four.

However, second-placed Swanage’s haul of 15 left them 21 points behind with only 20 to play for in the final game, crowning Puddletown as champions.

On winning the title, Barrett reserved praise for all of his players, labelling the achievement as unbelievable.

He said: “It’s crazy to think that four seasons ago when I was appointed as captain, the club was in Division Four and sometimes struggling to get 11 players out.

“Four seasons later, we have been promoted four years in a row with the most recent of those winning the Division One title.

“I really can’t praise our players enough. They have been absolutely superb this season and totally deserve the success they have achieved.

“At the start of the season on paper we were probably one of the favourites to be relegated, so to go and win the title with a game to spare is a truly heroic achievement.”

Barrett gave praise to Swanage’s Mike Salmon, describing his innings as one of the best he has seen.

He said: “Fair play to Swanage and Mike in particular who batted brilliantly for his ton.

“When someone is batting that well there isn’t much our bowlers can do, so well done to him for that. It was for sure one of the best innings I have seen.

“Although they hit 300, we were quite well positioned I thought at 88-1 when the rain came down.

“With wickets in hand, it could have ended up being a really tight finish, but unfortunately the weather arriving put a stop to that.”

In County Division Five, Puddletown Seconds beat Stalbridge Seconds by 96 runs. Puddle now sit third in the table, 46 points off leaders Bradford Abbas.