BEAMINSTER 165-8 (5pts) lost to WITCHAMPTON 238-4 (19pts) by 73 runs

BEAMINSTER were left to rue poor fielding as they succumbed to a heavy 73-run defeat at home to Witchampton in County Division Two.

After winning the toss, the away team set an above par total as Beaminster’s fielders struggled in the heat.

Opener Martin Ashford hit an unbeaten 95 but was helped by dropped catches and misfields in testing conditions.

Seven bowlers were used but only four wickets were taken, with Beaminster captain Ross Baker catching Mark Hopkins and Gavin Wayman, as the home team were unable to contain Witchampton.

With several regular players unavailable, Beaminster dropped crucial catches that allowed Witchampton to post a score of over 200 on an unusually tricky Memorial Ground surface.

In response, Beaminster battled but lost wickets at regular intervals.

Opener Baker (56) fought hard for 37 overs but Richard Runyard (23) was controversially run out, sparking a collapse from 73-1 to 107-6.

The target was briefly in sight during an entertaining partnership with Baker and Hugh Rathbone (24) but once the latter was bowled by Adam Croker (1-31), the hosts’ hopes of victory faded.

Ultimately Beaminster could not find their verve and Baker was caught soon after Rathbone before the Witches completed their win to move into first place.

Speaking to Echosport, Baker admitted his side’s fielding display had been costly.

He said: “We let ourselves down in the field. It was very hot but our fielding wasn’t up to scratch at all and we dropped catches and had misfields.

“There was a bit of variable bounce and we should have looked to restrict them to 200, so once they got over 200 it was always going to be an uphill task.”

On Beaminster’s batting, Baker added: “We just kept losing wickets. We only had two half decent partnerships – that’s not good enough.

“I tried to anchor the innings and hoped that someone would stay with me. Hugh managed it and it was looking like we could push on to victory in the last 10.

“Once Hugh got out we didn’t have any hope, but it was good we didn’t capitulate. Chasing that score we needed more partnerships and didn’t get them.”

Beaminster next face rivals Weymouth on Saturday (1.30pm) at the Memorial Ground, and sit six points behind the Seasiders in fifth position.


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