ASHMORE 286-5 (20pts) beat BEAMINSTER 229 (7pts) by 57 runs

LEE Russell’s superb 132 not out took Ashmore to a 10th County Divison Three victory of the season at Beaminster.

In sweltering heat, Ashmore won a crucial toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat on a flat track with a short boundary on one side.

After a flying start for the opening batsmen, who both hit a succession of boundaries, the Beaminster attack gained some control with tight bowling backed up by eager fielding.

Crucially, Ashmore kept wickets in hand and they didn’t panic as the run rate slowed.

Dave Percy took the first wicket with the score on 92, clean bowling A Taylor for 32.

Batting at number three, Russell stayed at the crease for the rest of the innings, taking advantage of any loose deliveries.

Ross Baker returned for his second spell and took two quick wickets as Chris Lamb executed a sharp stumping and Vijay claimed a smart slip catch.

The former’s good work behind the stumps saw A Maidment go for 41 and Vijay’s catch accounted for J Watson (13).

However, Russell was then dropped off Baker's bowling and that prompted the Beaminster fielding to unravel as the team wilted in the heat.

Three more catches were put down as Russell chanced his arm and accelerated the scoring by smashing nine maximums.

Although two further wickets were taken, by Aidey Phillips (1-73) and Vijay (1-10), the damage had been done by Russell.

In reply, that man Russell (3-16) showed he could be equally effective with the ball.

He bowled Rich Runyard and Lamb for five and three respectively before going on to do the same to Ryan Sweetman (14) later in the innings.

At 41-3, the middle order battled hard and the highlight of the hosts’ innings was a fourth-wicket stand of 111 between Baker (56) and Will Everitt (46).

After they perished to J Watson, Vijay played an entertaining cameo and added 27 runs.

The innings closed on 229 in the 43rd over with Terry Field unable to bat.

Beaminster, seventh in the table, go to Poole Town Thirds, the side immediately below them in the standings, this Saturday.

Meanwhile, in Division Six, Beaminster Seconds lost by 152 runs at Stalbridge Thirds.

Batting first, Stalbridge made 274-7 and then bowled out Beaminster for 122.

The second XI face a very tough test this weekend when they host leaders Bere Regis Seconds.