PUDDLETOWN 94 (3pts) lost to SHERBORNE 293-6 (20pts) by 199 runs

PUDDLETOWN’S task to avoid relegation from the Dorset Premier League increased in difficulty after a huge 199-run loss to Sherborne at Plush.

With five games remaining, defeat leaves bottom side Puddletown 15 points from safety behind Cattistock & Symene in ninth – the final safe position.

With limited player availability, Puddletown were aiming for a weekend of damage limitation and chose to bowl first despite promising conditions for batting.

The result was a feast of runs for Sherborne’s top order, as ex-Somerset Seconds batter Josh Lawrence (66) comfortably built to another half-century.

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He amassed 118 for the first wicket with Mark Roca before Ryan Norman (2-49) breached his defences.

Roca (69) continued the heavy scoring, passing 50 with Mike Kennedy in tow helping the visitors to 198-1.

Gordon Wint (1-40) removed Roca thanks to a catch from captain Adam Barrett, who then stopped Kennedy (49) just shy of his half-century as Puddletown checked Sherborne at 206-3.

Norman claimed his second wicket and Rob Snow (2-63) snared a late brace but Marc Lock produced an unbeaten 52 from 41 balls to push Sherborne to 293-6 from 50 overs.

In defence of their total, Sherborne were in devastating form as Ni Denham (3-28) accounted for openers Wint (5), Snow (8) and Chris Clarke (0).

Father and son duo Ryan and Reegan Norman dug in until the latter was removed by the experience of seamer Andy Nurton for a fluent 19 off 25 balls.

Barrett then came in and opted for attack, scoring 12 from 14 balls before he was stumped by Lock off Nurton (3-27).

Jake Elsworth, fresh from his six wickets last week, joined the party in ousting Ryan Norman (14) before Nurton bowled the injured Adam Weir (0).

It was then left to Elsworth (4-23) to mop up the tail as Sherborne bowled Puddle out for 94 in just 24.5 overs.

Speaking to Echosport, Barrett maintained the belief in his decision to bowl first.

He said: “We just need to stop the rot, it’s been a tough run of fixtures.

“This weekend moving forwards we play some of the teams towards the bottom of the table, so hopefully we can turn it round.

“We chose to bowl first on what was probably fair to say a good day to bat.

“We’ve gone into the game looking to pick up points and we thought, especially the way we’ve been batting recently, that we couldn’t afford another week of zero points.

“Unfortunately we’ve only managed to take six wickets and been bowled out cheaply in reply, but I still think the decision was the right one.

“It was just poor execution. Sherborne batted really well, scored a good total and in all honesty we never got going. But we’ll keep going and do what we can.”

Puddletown Seconds beat Cheselbourne by seven wickets in County Division Five.