BEAMINSTER 178-8 (19pts) beat POOLE TOWN II 92 (4pts) by 86 runs

BEAMINSTER returned to winning ways, climbing to second place in County Division Two in the process after a comprehensive 86-run victory over Poole Town Seconds at the Memorial Ground.

With two games left, Beaminster are primed for promotion, five points off leaders Witchampton and 10 clear of third-placed Puddletown.

After an uncontested toss, Beaminster were put in by Poole on a challenging wicket, due to heavy rain the proceeding day, and a slow outfield.

However, the opening batsmen rose to the challenge as they shared a gritty 44-run partnership.

Chris Park (23) was the first batsman to be dismissed after a fluent innings. Simon Jones (29) then shared a 61-run partnership with skipper Ross Baker as they played determinedly and ran well between the wickets.

Daniel Swift (18) continued the good work as Beaminster reached 150 and gained their third batting point.

Despite not hitting a boundary until the 26th over, Baker (61) remained until the 42nd over when he was dismissed attempting to accelerate the score.

This sparked a collapse as four further wickets were lost, Karthik Subramanian finishing with 4-37 before Beaminster gained their fourth batting point and closed on a competitive total of 178-8 from their allocation of 45 overs.

Bowlers Swift (3-27) and Nick Hollely (1-15) both produced superb opening spells to put Beaminster in control of the game as Poole’s chase started poorly.

After 12 overs the away team limped to 27-3 before Baker (5-19) and Simon Jones (1-10) continued the good work, bowling tight lines and extracting bounce from the pitch.

Despite a late cameo from Subramanian (34no) Poole were dismissed in the 33rd over for 92.

And Baker felt safe in the knowledge that promotion lies within Beaminster’s grasp.

He said: “It’s a big relief to get that win, it sets us up for the remainder of the season. It’s in our hands now so hopefully we can finish the season well and get promotion.”

On his own fine all-round display, Baker added: “It’s our best batting performance for quite a few games, everyone seemed focused. Having Simon bat at three really stabilised our top order.

“I just stayed there, tried to anchor the innings and everyone else batted round me. I’ve tried to do that for most of the season, but it was nice to get a bigger score. It was a pleasing innings all told.

“(Dan) and Nick bowled well, put them under pressure straight away. We kept that pressure on, Simon and myself kept it tight, they kept losing wickets and never really looked comfortable chasing that total.”