PUDDLETOWN 216 (8pts) lost to CATTISTOCK & SYMENE 274-8 (20pts) by 58 runs

PUDDLETOWN sustained a major blow in their battle to avoid the Dorset Premier League drop as Cattistock & Symene took a 58-run victory at Plush.

Coming into the game, Puddletown were bottom with the Foxes nine points above them and just one team going down this season.

However, on a scorching day, the toss proved crucial as Cattistock & Symene won the flip and elected to bat first.

Openers Wes Lewis (35) and Luke King (64) capitalised but tidy bowling from Rob Snow (3-32) pulled Puddletown back into the game.

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There were still major contributions to come from Brad Mullins (55) and Billy Wallbridge (31no) after skipper Steve Tucker hit 25.

Although Callum Chaldecott (2-37) did his best to stem the tide, Cattistock & Symene set an imposing 274-8 from their 50 overs.

Amid the hot weather, the batting surface understandably began to favour the bowlers later in the day – but not before Puddletown made a blistering start with the bat.

Ryan Norman was promoted to open along with fellow ex-Swanage star Ollie Shrubsole.

Although the latter fell for two, nicking George Wyrill (2-50) behind to Tucker, Norman stormed along with James Mitchell for company.

Tucker turned to Mullins as first change and he made a quick double breakthrough, bowling Norman and then accounting for Dave Morris (0), who had been boosted to number four.

Wyrill removed Reegan Norman (0) before Mitchell partnered with captain Adam Barrett (22), the duo pushing Puddletown as they so often have in recent seasons.

Yet Barrett perished to Luke King (3-35) and Mitchell (82) was left with no alternative but to strike out, while King claimed two more victims in Adam Weir (8) and Snow (0).

Mitchell was eventually stumped by Tucker off seamer Brad Damen (1-40) and Cattistock completed a fine victory, moving them 21 points clear of Puddletown with 60 points to play for.

It means should Cattistock claim maximum points against Martinstown on Saturday, Puddletown will be relegated.

And Barrett feels pessimistic on his side’s chances of staying up with a trip to leaders Poole next up.

He said: “Obviously we’re disappointed, we knew the importance of the fixture. We’ve come out second best, no complaints about the result.

“The best team won on the day and that seals our fate for the rest of the season.

“We’ve got to go to Poole Park, which is going to be a difficult task. Then, the last two games are Bere Regis and Broadstone.

“But the way Cattistock played, I think they’ll win at Martinstown and that will leave us more than 40 points behind with two games. I think that’s probably it now.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve thrown in the towel, we’re going to keep fighting. But I can’t see us escaping now.”

Puddletown Seconds beat Portland Red Triangle Seconds by 112 runs in County Division Five.