CORFE MULLEN 135-3 (20pts) beat WEYMOUTH 134 (3pts) by seven wickets

CORFE Mullen have cemented their place on top of the County Division One ladder with a seven-wicket win over Weymouth.

Three wickets and an unbeaten half-century from Corfe all-rounder Sam Stroud, as well as healthy contributions from Richard Witherington and Tommy Stannard, saw the hosts pick up their eighth win in 10 matches.

Overnight rain and an early start time gave less opportunity to prepare the ground, with batting expected to be tricky early on.

Corfe won the toss and sent the Seasiders in, reaping rewards immediately as Russ Haylock was caught at cover from the second ball of the match. 

READ MORE: Weymouth beat Beaminster by five wickets - report

Ben Lawes (16) struck three early boundaries in his first match of the season but was dismissed when he edged a rising ball from Mark Hodges through to ‘keeper Dan Flooks. Hodges (2-15) then picked up another three balls later when Nigel Stannard held onto a sharp catch at point to dismiss new batter Kieron Womble. 

Weymouth found themselves in further strife when Tommy Stannard dismissed Jack Sapsworth to leave them four wickets down with only 22 runs on the board. 

Throughout the early struggle opener Harry Mitchell had remained steadfast and, alongside new partner Lloyd Beals, Weymouth began to get the scoreboard to tick over. However, Beals was bowled by Michael Jordan (1-16) just as the pair began to look settled at the crease. 

With half of the side dismissed and only 44 runs on the board, Mitchell and Jonny Armfield aimed to rebuild, putting on 24 before Mitchell (21) was bowled by Stroud. Armfield (16) and Adam Hoyes fell to Stroud as well, with Pete Sapsworth (24) and Shafeek Urumancheri (19) tasked with getting the side to at least three figures.

The pair did that and more, putting on a 50-run partnership which helped their side to 134 all out, giving them a fighting chance with the ball, Tommy Stannard (3-16) and Sean Mulley (1-6) taking the last two wickets.

When Weymouth went out to bowl it was Beals who struck early, trapping Nigel Stannard lbw to give his side an early boost. Danish Ahmad’s long wait for a first team wicket also came to an end when he trapped Mulley in front in the 12th over.

This brought opener Witherington and number four Stroud together at 36-2, with plenty of work still to be done. The pair set about their work and began to build a partnership, and while neither innings was spotless Weymouth failed to take their chances in the field. 

By the time Witherington (42) fell lbw to Beals (2-40) the match was out of their reach, with Corfe needing only 22 to win. 

Stroud (55no) brought up a deserved half century, which included seven boundaries, to seal back-to-back wins for his side. 

Seasiders’ skipper Lloyd Beals spoke to Echosport following the match.

“Honestly, the pitch wasn’t very easy to bat on for the first hour or so,” he admitted.

“Take nothing away from Corfe, they won the toss, bowled well and killed the game early. I can’t fault any of my players' efforts.

“It was just a case of gathering as many points as possible, and we didn’t manage to achieve many. 

“No mindset change, sometimes the toss of the coin decides the game and we were on the wrong side of the flip.”

Weymouth have slipped back to fifth place following the weekend’s match and will look to avenge their loss to Wimborne back in round two at Redlands on Saturday (1pm).

Meanwhile, Corfe will look to stretch their winning streak to three games when they travel to Witchampton.

Weymouth Seconds’ clash with Martinstown Seconds was called off due to rain.

Dorset Trade Skills man of the match: Danish Ahmad.