DORSET 296-8 lost to BERKSHIRE 297-3 by seven wickets

DORSET were knocked out of the NCCA Trophy at the quarter-final stage after reigning champions Berkshire claimed a highly impressive seven-wicket win at Wimborne.

Going into the game, Dorset were riding the crest of a wave after topping their group.

However, they could count themselves unfortunate to have drawn seven-time champions Berkshire in the last eight, with their opponents winning the last three editions of the NCCA Trophy.

Dorset posted a challenging score of 296-8 having won the toss and elected to bat first at The Leaze.

READ MORE: Dorset beat Wiltshire by six wickets to top NCCA Trophy group

England Under-19s star Joseph Eckland and skipper Luke Webb (33) built to 48-0 before Berkshire struck in consecutive overs, removing Webb and David Scott (0).

Hampshire all-rounder Felix Organ, in for the unavailable Sam Young, then constructed a rapid stand of 98 with Eckland in just 16.3 overs.

Organ (63) was the more destructive of the pairing, smashing four sixes and three boundaries in his 58-ball innings before he fell victim to Luke Beaven (3-48).

Eckland (61) was more measured in his approach, lasting 92 balls and hitting six boundaries, but Euan Woods (1-64) drew him into a false stroke and he was caught, leaving Dorset on 193-4.

With just under 15 overs to go, Dorset had 300 fully in their sights and they nearly achieved that milestone as Alex Eckland blasted 73 from 60 balls, featuring seven fours and a six.

The returning Ed Ellis weighed in with 25 and Simon Woodruff (12) hit a late maximum as Dorset set Berkshire 297 to win.

Berkshire knew only a run per ball would be good enough and they duly set off like a train as all of their batters scored at a strike rate of 90 or higher.

Berkshire openers Archie Carter (64) and Johnny Connell (95) broke the back of the run chase in less than half of the 50 overs, storming along to 152-0.

Connor Smith (1-51) got the breakthrough by removing Carter and Scott (1-56) then snaffled Connell agonisingly short of his century as Berkshire were checked at 174-2.

Far from using the brace of wickets as a platform to eat further into the Berkshire batting, Dorset conceded another 83 runs from the next 11 overs.

Euan Woods (72no) and Billy Mead (37) were the players responsible, effectively batting Dorset out of the game.

Even though the economical Organ (1-48) bowled Mead, just 40 runs were required in the final ten overs and skipper Dan Lincoln (18no) joined forces with Woods, hitting three boundaries in 14 balls.

The pair comfortably saw Berkshire home with 26 balls to spare, meaning Dorset must now focus on three-day cricket.

Dorset’s Durant Cricket National Championship campaign gets under way on Sunday against Cornwall at Truro (11am).