DORCHESTER 154-5 (19pts) beat BERE REGIS 158-8 (4pts) by five wickets (DLS revised target 154)

DORCHESTER beat near neighbours Bere Regis for the first time since 2020 with a rain-affected five-wicket victory at Dorchester Rec.

Dan Belt’s men exploited good bowling conditions first up and restricted Bere, who have been free-scoring this season, to 158-8 from 44 overs after a rain delay.

With a reduced target of 154 from 41 overs to chase, Dorchester’s batters shared the workload in hunting down their target with 34 balls remaining, booking their eighth win from nine games in the process.

READ MORE: Dorset build solid foundation against Herefordshire

At the halfway stage of the season, it means Dorchester consolidate second place behind leaders Wimborne – despite dropping a point on the Minstermen – and Bere remain fourth.

With poor weather lingering around the ground from the outset, losing the toss became a blessing not a curse.

Bere skipper Brian Keegan ended up calling correctly and elected to bat but the visitors soon found themselves in trouble at 47-4 against the reigning Dorset Premier League champions.

Following an early rain delay, Belt (2-12) struck first to remove Matt King (6).

James Dunham (2-22) then accounted for big-hitting pair Rich Payne (4) and Cam Robertson (3), while Jack Owens (1-27) ended Rich Cole’s 54-ball knock of 14.

Tim Goodhew and Rob Murphy (32) rescued Bere with a determined stand of 85 until Simon Mitchem (2-17) made the breakthrough by bowling Murphy.

Having been 132-4, Bere suffered a mini collapse to 137-7 as Jon Legg (2-29) used his left-arm spin to remove Tom Munnings (0) and David Lovell (1) cheaply.

Goodhew (52) then reached a thoroughly deserved half-century, scoring five boundaries and a six in the process, before Mitchem speared a delivery through his defences.

Late hitting from Dean Rogerson (14no), including a maximum, pushed Bere to 158-8 – setting a target of 154 from 41 overs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

In defence of a seemingly below-par total, Bere’s Murphy (1-19) claimed the early scalp of Mitchem (1) lbw to leave Dorchester on 2-1.

Fellow opener Jim Ryall (21) and new batter Seb Carty (48) used their guile in response, compiling 71 for the second wicket despite only hitting eight fours between them.

Carty had done the majority of the scoring but he fell just shy of his 50, perishing bowled to Rogerson (3-31) after watching Ryall suffer the same fate.

Gautham Rajendar (6) also perished to the off-spinner as Dorchester were checked at 92-4 – and a bizarre dismissal was yet to follow.

Mike Peak, who struck 27 from 32 balls to inch Dorchy closer to the winning line, was given out for obstructing the field after punching a bouncing ball away to prevent it hitting the stumps.

With Dorchester now on 117-5, Belt scored 15 in as many balls in tandem with Legg (27no) to safely guide the title holders home.

Speaking to Echosport, Belt said: “We went out there and performed well with a nice little professional performance to get 19 points.

“We lost the toss and they decided to bat. There was a bit of weather around and I was quite happy to lose the toss, I wasn’t sure what to do.

“We got a couple of early inroads and then they had a good partnership, but all the boys chipped in with wickets and keeping them to 158 we were very happy.

“It was a used wicket so it wasn’t as free-flowing but the boys bowled well and restricted the boundary balls. It was a very good fielding performance as well with no dropped catches.”

Reflecting on the chase, he added: “We got off to a shaky start losing Si but then Seb coming in at three looked really getting 48, which got us in a good position.

“Then myself and Leggy brought us home with overs to spare.”

Examining his side’s third defeat of the season, opposing captain Keegan said: “It looked a decent wicket but obviously the weather wasn’t great.

“There’s no excuses – we didn’t bat well enough. They bowled well first up and we got ourselves into a bit of a hole.

“They put the ball in the right place, took wickets, put pressure on us and our top didn’t react well to that. We were bailed out by Tim and Rob.

“To be perfectly honest, 158, we needed another 50 to make it competitive.

“Then, Murph bowled OK but to defend that total we needed to take wickets and early doors we didn’t really look like we were going to do that.

“Dean bowled well with 3-31 off nine but other than that we lacked wicket-taking ability.”

Dorchester Seconds lost by seven wickets to Weymouth in County Division Two, while Bere Regis Seconds beat Cattistock & Symene Seconds by three wickets in County Division Three.