MARTINSTOWN 264-9 (17pts) beat CATTISTOCK & SYMENE 268-4 (12pts) by one wicket – (DLS revised target 261)

MARTINSTOWN held their nerve to beat Cattistock & Symene by one wicket on the penultimate ball of a compelling rain-affected Dorset Premier League clash at Lower Ashton Farm.

Victory pushes Town up into sixth place in the league, while bottom side Cattistock & Symene trail Puddletown by two points in ninth after coming desperately close to their first win this season.

Cattistock & Symene did all they could to post that elusive victory, with their winless run stretching seven games back to the final game of the 2021 season and a 104-run success at Broadstone.

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And the Foxes were well on their way to breaking their duck thanks to an aggressive batting display – despite losing the toss and being asked to bat first.

Wes Lewis (36) scored the majority of a 54-run opening stand with Luke King to set the visitors up, with Jason Bradley taking up the baton after Jacob Coombs (1-29) struck.

The Foxes’ number three struck four boundaries and a six in his 42 as Cattistock & Symene bounded into triple figures at 132-1.

Needing a wicket to stem the tide, Martinstown turned to the unlikely source of wicketkeeper-batter Ed Nichols (2-28).

The former Dorset man pinned Bradley and King (43) leg before in the space of one over, Charlie Durant (1-52) then striking to remove Brad Mullins (1) as the Foxes stumbled to 134-4.

Leading the resurgence was captain Steve Tucker, who blasted an unbeaten 79 to push the away side onto a magnificent score.

The big-hitting batter bludgeoned six maximums and four boundaries in his scintillating 34-ball knock, with Ollie Nicholas (41no) also scoring quickly.

Their unbroken partnership of 134 doubled the Foxes’ total to 268-4, leaving Martinstown with plenty to do in their chase.

Martinstown were in early difficulty at 7-2 as brothers Sean (0) and Finlay Williams (4) fell to George Wyrill (3-71) and Mullins (1-44) respectively.

Nichols found the boundary seven times in a fluent 34-ball 36 and Will Maltby also looked at ease with four fours and a maximum in his 17-ball 22.

That was until Wyrill removed both players and a quickfire double from the economical Ollie Legg (2-31) to dismiss Ry Gerety (36) and Ed Maltby (0) had the hosts in deep trouble at 105-6.

However, former skipper Sam Kershaw teamed up with Jenson Stewart either side of a rain delay that robbed the hosts of four overs in their chase.

The duo crashed 140, carving 17 boundaries and two maximums between them, to haul their side back in with a chance of victory – helped by pummelling 33 from Joe Etherington’s final two overs.

But back came the Foxes in a thrilling finish, Lewis (3-7) removing both men and Durant (4) to reduce Town to 252-9 from 246-6.

Still needing nine from the final over, Martinstown’s Charlie Andrews (9no) and Coombs (1no) played a blinder.

Andrews struck two boundaries off Archie Mullins (0-9) to win the game with just one ball to spare, sending his side into ecstasy and the Foxes into disbelief.

Speaking to Echosport after an eventful win, co-skipper Durant said: “It was a crazy game. Credit to them, they batted really well to start with.

“It’s really nice to win the game considering the position we were in, then Kersh and Jenson have come together and scored 140.

“I’m sat there waiting as the next man in getting pad rash with my heart in my mouth!

“It’s a really good win and at one stage it did not look good, but we love doing it the hard way.”

He added: “Jenson and Kersh batted superbly. They came in when we were in a very big spot of bother and they counter-attacked at a really good speed.

“Ed batted well at the start and Ry batted well for his 36, then it was nice for Charlie to finish it off for us.”

Elsewhere, Martinstown Seconds lost by seven wickets to County Division Three leaders Cerne Valley, who recorded a seventh-straight win.