DORCHESTER 218-7 (18pts) beat SHERBORNE 228-6 (8pts) by three wickets – (DLS revised target 218)

NOT even rain could stop Dorchester as the county town side claimed a three-wicket Dorset Premier League victory over Sherborne at Dorchester Rec.

Poor weather ate up five overs of Dorchester’s chase, in turn knocking ten runs off their target after Sherborne had posted 228-6.

But Dan Belt’s men found a way to get the job done despite a middle order stutter as they maintained their pursuit of leaders Wimborne – matching their tally of 18 points on the day.

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Much of the talk before the game was around former Somerset Seconds batter Josh Lawrence and he again showed his class in striking six fours.

Dorchester looked to be frustrated after their decision to field first upon winning the toss, Lawrence nicking Belt to slip where the chance went down.

But a smart piece of glovework from Dorset Over-50s wicketkeeper Jim Ryall had the classy batter stumped for 29 from 30 balls off James Dunham.

And it was Dunham who continued to wreak havoc in the Sherborne innings, going on to take 4-29 as he accounted for all four of the away side’s top order.

Billy Baker (1-23) then chipped in by bowling Marc Lock (9) and Dorchester were sitting pretty as their opponents struggled to 70-5.

However, they did not bank on a counter-attacking 136-run stand between Roger Parfitt and Tim Durston.

Both men notched half-centuries but Durston (50) was first to go, bowled by Belt (1-41) having struck six fours.

Parfitt was within touching distance of a century and was made to bide his time before reaching the landmark in the final over with his 11th four, going along with two maximums.

The duo’s efforts took Sherborne to 228-6 before rain intervened, although the extra moisture in the atmosphere far from hindered Dorchester early in their chase.

Ryall (51) brought up a fluent half-century, complete with six fours, until he was stumped by Lock off Paul Hancock (4-37), who also dismissed fellow opener Simon Mitchem (28).

Gautham Rajendar (25) took a typically aggressive approach to his batting, unleashing three fours in his 14-ball stay before Lawrence (3-34) struck with the ball.

Sherborne’s star player then had Mike Peak (4) and Jon Legg (2) out cheaply as Dorchester reached 149-5.

The returning Seb Carty (37) held the innings together along with new batter Belt but back came Hancock with Carty’s scalp and the wicket of Josh Foot (4).

Dorchester were now 187-7 and Sherborne had more than a sniff of victory, only for Belt (27no) to compile a captain’s innings and guide his team to victory with 5.1 overs to spare.

Speaking to Echosport, Belt said: “That rain came in at 23 overs so we were two overs light of it being a game and we were in full control.

“It was frustrating when the rain came but we knew we would get back on at some point and see ourselves over the line.

“(Lawrence) was dropped at slip off me so to pick him up the next over was crucial and JD bowled very well into a strong wind, it wasn’t easy to bowl.

“To get the early wickets was great but there was quite a lot of dropped chances, so that helped them get to 228.

“We thought 230-240 was probably par on that wicket. The outfield was lightning quick and we were quietly confident that we could chase it.

“Jim and Si got us off to a great start and Gautham got in but it was a shame that people got in and got out cheaply.

“Then it got to the point where myself and JD saw us home with five overs to go.”

Elsewhere, Nick Joslin’s first game as Dorchester Seconds captain ended in a seven-wicket defeat at Corfe Mullen in County Division Two, while Dorchester Thirds lost by 115 runs to Cattistock & Symene Thirds in Division Six.