PORTLAND RT 158-9 (4pts) lost to WITCHAMPTON 267-3 (19pts) by 109 runs

PORTLAND Red Triangle’s concerted efforts to get their game on against Witchampton went unrewarded as the Witches clinched a 109-run victory at Reforne.

Amid heavy rain across some parts of the county, the fixture was the only County Division One match to survive the elements.

And the 19 points earned by Witchampton could be pivotal as they moved to the top of the standings by a single point from Poole Town Seconds with three games remaining.

Portland have their own problems at the bottom of the table, with Matt Randell’s men still in seventh some 17 points ahead of Beaminster in ninth.

READ MORE: Portland Red Triangle lose to Poole Town Seconds by six wickets

Bizarrely, Triangle lost a point to rained-off Beaminster with five points being awarded for a no result.

It means their pre-match preparation on Friday and Saturday morning was effectively all for nothing after they lost the toss and were asked to field first.

With rain falling steadily and the new ball quickly becoming damaged, Witchampton had the better of the conditions and amassed 267-3 from their 45 overs.

Witchampton constructed a monster opening stand of 161 as Sam Plater (96) and Martin Ashford (40) cashed in, punishing what turned out to be a catalogue of dropped catches.

It took three quick wickets for off-spinner Jack Marsh (3-54) to check the Witches at 168-3.

However, a blistering unbeaten 56 from 25 balls by Steven Ashford plus 43 not out from Ryan Allaway (43no) propelled Witchampton to a huge score.

Portland’s reply was then dented by a superb hat-trick for Harrison Bowles at the end of the third over and beginning of the fifth.

He used the new ball to stunning effect, bowling Matt Barrett (6), Izaak Russell and Randell (both 0) to leave Triangle on 9-3.

Bowles then removed Callan Laws (12) in his seventh over, although George Munro carved a counter-attacking 40 to stem the tide of wickets.

When he departed to Stewart Hibberd (1-22), Ryan Price (9) followed soon after as Ricky Hempstead (1-38) ended his 57-ball stay.

Bowles completed his fifer by castling Rich Samuel (2) and only battling knocks from Eddie Moles (39) and Marsh (16) made the scoreline respectable.

They carried Triangle to the death and although they perished, the last-wicket pairing of James Potts (2no) and Joel Davey (0no) deprived Witchampton of maximum points, the hosts ending on 158-9.

Speaking to Echosport, Randell said: “We just dropped too many catches, that was our issue.

“The first-wicket partnership felt like it went on forever. We had a few chances to break that quite early and didn’t take them.

“Having said that, we had the worst conditions. It was heavy rain for the first eight overs. It made the bowling harder and the ball was not great.

“It was the 20th over before we were allowed to change the ball. We were probably into double figures (in drops), it’s a lack of training and effort from some players, really.”

On the hard pre-match work to ensure the game went ahead, Randell added: “It’s an annoying one for us because we worked really hard on the Friday.

“We made sure most of the square was covered and we were up there early Saturday morning to make sure the game was on.

“We came out worse off than if we’d not bothered putting any effort in and rained the game off.

“That’s a little bit of a joke and maybe something the league need to look in to. If you have a bad day but work hard to get the game on, you get penalised for that.”