PORTLAND RT 168 (6pts) lost to STALBRIDGE 172-6 (20pts) by four wickets

PORTLAND Red Triangle suffered a rare home defeat as Stalbridge won their County Division One opener by four wickets at Reforne.

Portland were reduced to 13-4 early on and never fully recovered to post a competitive score as Stalbridge’s Simon Sweatman crashed 60 from 41 balls to guide the visitors home.

Crucially, Stalbridge won the toss and elected to field after a wet winter and instantly had Triangle in trouble.

Veteran seamer Steve Forshaw claimed three of the early wickets but Portland were indebted to a defiant 58 from 119 balls by Dave Adkins, steadying the ship.

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Ryan Price (16) and James Potts (15) also battled away and, were it not for a gigantic 60 extras, Portland would not have reached 168 by the time they were bowled out, the evergreen Forshaw snaring a stunning 6-20.

Joe Adkins (1-15) bowled Will Coleman in the first over but James Lewis (42) and Colin Moore (31) pushed the visitors on from that setback.

However, Portland’s hopes of success were whisked away by a brutal unbeaten knock from Sweatman, who was dropped twice.

He punished Portland by blasting five sixes and five fours to lead Stalbridge home.

That was despite the best efforts of Potts (2-31) and Rob Townley (2-22), as Triangle skipper Matt Randell lamented a poor batting start leaving them little room for error with the ball.

He told Echosport: “We just didn’t bat well enough. I thought we played some good cricket for some periods of time, just not long enough.

“That will be our main focus going forward. In terms of the way we fought back to make a competitive total it was really good.

“But, four down and you haven’t got 20 on the board, it’s always going to be a tough task.”

Randell also highlighted Sweatman’s 60, adding: “We dropped him a couple of times, so it was mainly our mistakes.

“He batted well, though. If you drop someone and they go on and make runs, fair play. He bats quite aggressively, so he can take the game away from you quite quickly. They were a good side.”

In Division Five, Triangle’s seconds took maximum points at Stalbridge Development, winning by nine wickets after dismissing their hosts for 98.