POOLE TOWN 179-9 (7pts) lost to BERE REGIS 180-7 (19pts) by three wickets

BERE Regis sensationally beat Poole Town by three wickets on the final day of the 2021 season, handing neighbours Dorchester a hat-trick of Dorset Funeral Plan Premier League titles.

Going into the game, Poole were in control of their own destiny knowing that 12 points from a possible 20 would clinch the trophy while leaders Dorchester sat out a bye weekend.

But the Poole Park outfit came up against a Bere Regis side inspired by 15-year-old Tom Munnings, who starred with both bat and ball.

The dramatic outcome gave Dorchester their third successive title – by just four points.

Bere continued their winning streak to seven matches in the process and ended Poole’s 10-game unbeaten record at home, stretching back to August 2019 when Shroton won by 29 runs.

READ MORE: Dorchester make history with back-to-back titles

Poole had begun the day well after winning the toss, batting first and recovering from the early loss of James Park (0) to Rob Murphy (1-30).

Alex Allum (31) and Badrul Alam (21) took the score to 55-1 but the off-spin of Sam Goodhew (2-34) bowled both men to leave Poole on 66-3.

Richard Armstrong (21) and Lewis Marais again rebuilt amid impressive bowling at the back end from Cameron Robertson (2-27) and Munnings (2-29).

Robertson removed Armstrong and Marais, shortly after reaching a patient half-century, then perished to Munnings.

Robertson and Munnings ousted Andrew Ruston (0) and Dan Jackson (1) cheaply but 22 from David Miller guided Poole to a defendable 179-9 on a turning track.

In reply, Bere lost openers Matt King and Dave Griffiths (both 3) cheaply as Poole made a fantastic start in pursuit of the title.

That was until Goodhew (27) and Robertson (24) reversed the momentum with a 47-run stand.

Ruston (2-31) accounted for both batsmen to put Bere on 81-4 but Munnings had other ideas despite the cheap dismissals of Murphy (4) and Tim Goodhew (8).

Joined by Rich Payne, Munnings (57) took Bere to the brink of victory with an innings defying his young years.

He reached his maiden first-team half-century with Payne (26no) playing a superb supporting knock.

Munnings was deprived of the chance to see Bere home when Armstrong (1-9) had him caught, but Payne hit the winning run two balls later to break Poole hearts.

Speaking to Echosport, Bere captain Brian Keegan said: “Maybe Poole felt the pressure but the game-changer was when Sam came on to tighten things up.

“That set things up for us and Cameron and Tom both bowled at the back end, effectively they took 4-56 off 17 overs and tightened the screw.

“179 on that type of wicket was around about par. When it came to our innings we didn’t get off to the greatest start.

“But the stand-out performer was young Tom with 57. Unfortunately he didn’t see it right the way home.

“I can’t speak highly enough of what an experienced head he’s got on young shoulders.

“He batted really well and took the game to Poole, then Rich saw us over the line. I’m really pleased with the result.”

On the title drama, Keegan said: “From that perspective, congratulations go to Dorchester and commiserations to Poole.

“Both teams are up there and at the end of the day you end up top of the pile for a reason.

“(Poole) didn’t bowl as well as I’ve seen them bowl. Whether that was pressure, I don’t know.

“Poole are the only ones that could tell you that.”

Victory left Bere Regis in fourth place overall.

Elsewhere, Bere Regis Seconds earned promotion from County Division Four with a nine-wicket win over Ashmore.