ABBOTSBURY 204-6 (8pts) lost to CERNE VALLEY 207-6 (18pts) by four wickets

ABBOTSBURY’S four-match winning run in County Division Three was brought to a halt by unbeaten leaders Cerne Valley despite a scintillating century from Chas Duerdoth.

The Swans were asked to bat first on a sunny afternoon in Abbotsbury, with Simon Pengelly and Nick Kneebone opening.

Their bowling counterparts proved to be a stern test however, particularly with the backing of some very tight fielding, and only 32 runs were yielded by the time Kneebone (7) gloved behind Roger Edmunds (1-25) in the 13th over.

Two more wickets swiftly followed in Sam Reeves’ (2-38) first over, both in similar fashion, as debutant and 'Can You Cricket' YouTube star Gareth Grant (5) and then Kynan Brian (0) slashed at length deliveries only to spoon the ball in the air to the off-side for straightforward catches.

READ MORE: Cerne Valley claim fifth straight win

That brought Duerdoth to the crease in the 16th over and with Pengelly the pair started to repair the damage as Cerne were put more on the back foot.

Duerdoth was in such irrepressible form that he put Pengelly’s excellent innings in the shade as the pair put on 89 for the fourth wicket before Pengelly, having been put down twice earlier, was well caught by a diving Russ Hurford at square leg for 53, a score which already represents the Swans’ stalwart’s fourth score exceeding 50 at this early stage of the season.

There was no stopping Duerdoth though, and with support from Pankaj Nikale (9) and skipper David Worsdell (10) the dynamic batter flayed the Cerne attack.

Entering the final over, Ashley Harrow (2no) got himself off strike with Duerdoth just short of his century which he sealed on the final ball by smacking Craig Kellaway (1-46) for a straight six into the horse field to finish on a superb 105 not out, having struck 13 fours and two sixes.

Cerne lost an early wicket in reply as Cerne's top scorer this season, John Stiles (5), was caught at the second attempt by wicketkeeper Harrow and the incoming Tom Atkinson (1) quickly fell to leave the visitors on 36-2 after 10 overs, both victims of spinner Nikale (2-45).

Duerdoth's bowling was typically economical but he was hampered by an Achilles injury and a solid batting partnership was to follow as opener Hurford (53) and Joe Message put on 71 before Pengelly (1-30) pinned Hurford lbw.

Unfortunately for the Swans, another 64 was added before Brian (1-18) was brought into the attack, who bowled Message (49) with his first delivery with a pearler of an inswinger.

However Brian’s second over was dispatched for 14 runs and though Harry Testa-Fisher (0-25) bowled a tidy spell, Scott Wallace (0-34) received some punishment.

Kneebone’s three overs of leg spin failed to make a breakthrough but Ollie Thomas (2-8) secured a third bowling point with two late wickets, including that of Cerne skipper Lloyd Mitchem (52), who was caught by Grant on the deep mid-wicket boundary.

However, this proved insufficient as the winning runs were struck with two overs to spare, a result that cements Cerne Valley’s position at the top of the table by 13 points from Cattistock & Symene Seconds, while the Swans slip to fourth, 25 points behind.