WEYMOUTH 275-7 (20pts) beat SHAFTESBURY 220 (8pts) by 55 runs

WEYMOUTH posted their highest score this season in a timely return to form with the bat, beating Shaftesbury by 55 runs at Redlands in County Division Two.

Neil Walton and Kieron Womble scored the majority of Weymouth’s runs in strong winds, which blew over a sightscreen and forced the umpires to remove the bails from the stumps.

However, conditions worsened during Shaftesbury’s innings as the biting wind strengthened amid intermittent light showers.

It meant bowling proved extremely difficult, although Weymouth took wickets at key times to finally see off a brave Shaftesbury challenge.

READ MORE: Weymouth lose to Parley Seconds by eight wickets

Their victory was dedicated to teenage star Cory Baker, who was involved in a motorbike accident when travelling to the game and spent the night in hospital before being discharged.

Having been bowled out last week at Parley Seconds for 112, earning just two points, Weymouth knew a big improvement was needed – and they delivered.

Captain for the day, Lloyd Beals, won the toss and chose to bat but Weymouth were soon 31-2 when Tommy England was run out by Sam Harris and John Wilson (15) was pinned lbw by Chris Pym (2-29).

That was as good as it got for Shaftesbury as Walton and Womble quickly counter-attacked.

Weymouth’s two leading runscorers this season shared 159 for the third wicket, pouncing on anything short and full.

They were aided by a faltering Shaftesbury attack, who had started so promisingly with Pym and Marc Doble (0-34) holding a good line and length.

Walton in particular showed a willingness to attack on his way to a half-century, taking four boundaries off one Mark Lewis (0-48) over as Weymouth breezed along at five an over.

Womble (41) provided good support with four boundaries and a six until he was trapped leg before by the battling Harris (1-66).

Weymouth were now 190-3 but Walton continued to push against a Shaftesbury bowling unit that never gave up, Adam Robinson (1-53) holding a fine return catch off Dom Webb (12).

However, Walton had crept into the 90s with a succession of singles before reaching his second career ton for the Seasiders with a six off Harris.

Weymouth had targeted a score in excess of 270 and subsequently took risks between the wickets, leading to the run out of Beals (8).

And Walton (125) suffered the same fate, picking up a hamstring injury in the process, ending an aggressive knock which included 16 fours and three sixes.

Weymouth did surpass 270 thanks to late boundaries from Marco Nott (8) and Shafeek Urumancheri (9no) before closing on 275-7.

Shaftesbury’s reply got off to the worst possible start as Beals (3-43) dismissed Dorset Over-50s batter Donald Smith lbw first ball and Graham Puckett (2-38) followed up by bowling Simon Foulkes (0).

Kevin Monaghan (15) looked threatening before nicking Pete Sapsworth (1-43) behind, but Doble displayed power and timing in building a 50 stand with Aled Williams (55).

Shaftesbury were well up with the rate, even after Urumancheri dismissed Doble (17) lbw as Williams continued to score fluently, hitting nine boundaries in reaching his half-century.

But his stay was ended by first-team debutant, and Baker’s late replacement, Fawas Kalathingal (1-36), who profited from an agile diving catch by Womble behind the stumps.

Beals then returned to castle Lawrence Yeo, whose 22 included three fours and a big straight six.

Shaftesbury were still neck and neck with the run rate but had only four wickets left when needing another 140 runs.

Harris struck a fine 61 in response to the task ahead, smearing nine fours and a six in a powerful innings to guide the visitors to 214-6.

Shaftesbury needed an achievable 65 from six overs but Puckett and Urumancheri combined to take three wickets – including that of Harris in the deep – for just five runs.

And Beals duly bowled Lewis (0) to wrap up a good win, capping his first game in charge.

Speaking to Echosport, Beals said: “To defend 275, I’m satisfied.

“Batting-wise, you can tell when Neil’s in that mood. Like Ben Stokes said about Jonny Bairstow last week, he has those eyes. You can just tell when a boundary is hit, you just look at his body language.

“Everything about him is so good to watch, it was a privilege to be out there with him when he hit the ton.

“I feel sorry for poor old Cory, a special mention to him. I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery. I’m gutted to see what happened to him.”

He added: “I was a bit disappointed Neil wasn’t able to bowl (due to injury). The bowlers stood up and to win, that’s all I care about.

“Of the 11 players that were in our team, I was the only one that was going to bat first and I’m happy I stuck with my decision.

“I didn’t want to be the first captain in history to not defend 275 for Weymouth! But there was a point in that game where we were under pressure.

“Shafeek was probably the pick of the bowlers. He’s a better bowler than the overs he’s bowled this year and I’m glad he pulled through for me.

“Everyone else I’m happy with, I cannot complain with anyone.”