WEYMOUTH 270-8 (20pts) beat SHAFTESBURY 202-7 (9pts) by 68 runs

WEYMOUTH overcame promotion rivals Shaftesbury by 68 runs in a “laughable” County Division Two clash at Redlands.

Going into the game, 20 points separated second-placed Shaftesbury from Weymouth in fourth.

And after Weymouth posted a daunting 270-8 with the bat, Shaftesbury were reduced to 1-3 in their chase.

Despite Marc Doble and Kevin Monaghan looking in good touch when sharing a whopping 172 for the fourth wicket, the visitors appeared reluctant to go through the gears, running mostly singles and twos.

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Weymouth won the toss and chose to bat, once more working themselves into a powerful position on home turf.

They negated the early loss of Tom England (0) to Cameron Cudlipp (3-56) as captain Lloyd Beals (17) and Ben Lawes punished anything short, full or wide.

Beals top-edged behind off Robbie Keulemans (1-48) but ex-Dorset all-rounder Lawes was quick to dismiss anything missing a good length, hitting 14 boundaries.

Mark Gregory added 27 before Doble (2-40) pinned him leg before and then bowled Lawes for a run-a-ball 74 via his front pad.

Weymouth were far from done there though as Neil Walton (52), Jack Sapsworth (32no), Connor Wills (15) and Tim Guyett (10) all peppered the boundary to help set Shaftesbury 271 to win.

The Seasiders continued their dominance by taking three wickets for just one run in the opening five overs as Beals (3-25) and Walton (1-36) clinically used the new rock.

Doble (86) and Monaghan (79no) initially dug in before expertly working the ball around, Weymouth struggling for a breakthrough on a good batting surface.

However, the Seasiders starved the pair of boundaries and they duly tired as the required run rate steepened.

Shaftesbury appeared content to reach 200 for maximum batting points, not before Doble cheaply lost his wicket to a reverse sweep off Shafeek Urumancheri (1-44).

Beals returned for two more wickets and a run out but the hosts could not remove Monaghan, who struck only three fours in his 79 from 104 balls.

In the end, Shaftesbury settled for defeat, inching their way to maximum batting points while depriving Weymouth of full bowling points.

Speaking after the victory, Beals criticised Shaftesbury’s approach.

“It was the weirdest two hours of my life,” he told Echosport.

“I had no idea what was going on and what they were trying to do.

“To see a team celebrate losing a game is strange, but fair enough if they’re happy.

“From 1-3 to come back and put on 172 is fair enough but I play to win. I would’ve put pressure on my batters to chase it down no matter what. It’s laughable.”

Weymouth moved into third, also gaining ground on leaders Corfe Mullen after their defeat at Compton House. Ahead of their meeting on Saturday, Weymouth trail by 31 points.

Weymouth Seconds remain one of only two unbeaten teams in the Dorset League, along with Premier leaders Wimborne, after an 18-run win at Puddletown Seconds in Division Five.

Dorset Trade Skills man of the match: Ben Lawes.