POOLE TOWN III 217-8 (21pts) beat ABBOTSBURY 209-9 (12pts) by eight runs

ABBOTSBURY fell to a narrow eight-run defeat against Poole Town Thirds as their run chase fell agonisingly short in County Division Three.

Returning Swans skipper David Worsdell won the toss and opted to bowl first under cloudy skies at Poole Park, pace bowler Avid Alam (1-35) and spinner Pankaj Nikale (0-41) spearheading the attack against the Poole opening batters.

The home side got off to a decent start by progressing without alarm to 35 until Sean Norsworthy (5-35) replaced Alam and picked up a wicket in his first over, Matthew Hobbs (10) mistiming a drive that looped to Ashley Harrow at point.

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Nick Williams (34) helped the score on to 79 before he was pinned lbw by the same bowler and further success followed for the hirsute medium pacer when Luke Hall (2) played on.

There was no stopping Norsworthy now as he completed his first five-wicket haul for the Swans with Andrew Lands (36) and James Bice (6) the next victims to succumb to his nagging line and length.

With Alam returning for a much-improved second spell which started with Scott Thompson being clean bowled without scoring, Poole, at 121-6 were now struggling to accumulate a competitive total.

However, Poole captain Craig Rochford (45no) was proving to be a thorn in the Swans’ side with some robust shots and while Harry Testa-Fisher (1-39) removed Sam Leaton (8), Matty Williams (29) coming in at number nine in the order proved to be a nuisance by putting on a stand of 54 with Rochford for the eighth wicket.

Kynan Brian (1-25) finally dismissed Williams by clutching on to a caught and bowled opportunity but 14 runs were scored off the final over as Poole finished on 217-8 from the allotted 40 overs.

A shuffle in the Abbotsbury order saw Rob Thomas (5) and George Higgins (7) open for the Swans but both fell cheaply, although a flurry of wides helped to boost the score to 41 by the fall of the second wicket.

Nick Kneebone (34) survived an early caught behind chance and was the beneficiary of two further spilled catches during a stand of 48 with Brian (56) as the score moved to 89-3 at the halfway point in the innings.

It was looking rosy for the Swans as the score progressed to 132 with Brian scoring briskly but Abbotsbury suffered a blow when first Nikale (12) departed caught and the free-scoring Brian was adjudged lbw to the bowling of Rochford (3-28).

Ashley Harrow (9) was next to fall and Testa-Fisher (1) quickly followed as the Swans suddenly found themselves at 163-7 in the 34th over.

Worsdell (32no) was preventing total collapse however and Alam (14) provided renewed hope with a couple of boundaries.

However, when Alam was dismissed in the 38th over, 28 runs were still required for victory and the Swans were unable to find the winning formula.

Next up for Abbotsbury is Broadstone away today (1.30pm).