PUDDLETOWN 285-5 (19pts) beat STALBRIDGE 279-8 (10pts) by six runs

PUDDLETOWN narrowly managed to defend 285 as Stalbridge were beaten by six runs in a high-scoring County Division One contest at Plush.

Ryan Norman’s Puddletown batted first after winning the toss and were checked at 46-2 as Steve Forshaw (2-48) struck to remove Adam Barrett (10) and Rob Snow (21).

Puddletown then fought back as Regan Norman blasted an entertaining 83, including 13 boundaries and two sixes, before he was cleaned up by Neil Ford (1-49).

Pete Phillips then took up the charge, crashing a priceless 109 not out to anchor the Kingfishers’ innings.

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His knock contained four maximums plus ten fours and allowed Chris Clarke (15), Charlie Eccleson (15no) and Adam Weir (14) to play aggressively.

Puddletown were also grateful for 18 extras as they posted 285-5.

Stalbridge were unperturbed by the big total, even after seeing James Lewis (0) run out early in their chase.

Puddletown dropped several chances in the field but nabbed the key wicket of Stuart Sweatman (48), held by James Morris off Ryan Norman (2-62), to open the door further.

However, Will Coleman (45) and Simon Sweatman (75) both scored quickly and threatened to take Stalbridge to victory.

Phillips (2-62) chipped in with a brace to check the visitors but a rapid 39 not out from Andy Dike helped set up a tense final over.

Stalbridge needed 22 in the last six balls but could only extract 16 from Weir’s final over as Puddletown snuck home by six runs.

Speaking to Echosport, skipper Norman said: “It was a good game but closer than it should’ve been, we put six catches down. We should’ve been in the bar a lot earlier than we were.

“We got Stu out and then people switched off, we fell asleep in the middle.

“They’ve got some guys who can come in and hit a good ball but we managed to see it out, so it was good to get the 19 points.”

Norman added: “Regan and Pete batted superbly and put us in a really strong position. Regs hit 80 in about 12 overs.

“Then Pete, batting with Regan, it allowed him to get in and he really punished them.

“At 285, you always fancy that, 260 was probably about par. The guys stuck with it and me and Weir managed to see us home in the closing overs.

“The last two overs they needed 26 and they still needed 22 off the last. They hit six off the penultimate ball but the game was over by then.

“It wasn’t squeaky bum time but they were closer than they should’ve been.”

Puddletown Seconds lost by 18 runs to unbeaten Weymouth Seconds in Division Five.