It was one of the hottest summers in living memory and there was plenty of cricket played across Dorset with the Premier League title decided on the last weekend of the season.
The presentation evening was held at The Leaze, home of the 2018 Dorset Funeral Plan Cricket League champions – Wimborne and Colehill CC.
The club has won the title three times in the last seven years and 2018 saw a real team effort.
Three of their batsmen scored more than 500 runs; Colin Randall (645), Mark House (548) and James Miller (509). With the ball, three players took more than 20 wickets; Tom Caines (27), Ed Bartlett (24) and George Bartlett (23).
Skipper Tom Caines received the trophy from Nick Douch of the sponsors of the league, The Dorset Funeral Plan.
The runners-up spot was also decided on the final weekend and Poole Town CC secured the position for the third time in four years.
Poole possessed the division’s leading all-rounder in Badrul Alam who took 26 wickets and made 700 runs. The team also had the top wicket-taker in all Dorset cricket; Joe Wormington. He claimed 41 victims during the campaign.
In Division One Christchurch CC took the title having finished 2nd and 3rd in the previous two seasons. New batsman Ben Francis made 576 runs and Joe Malone 487. Tom Hughes finished with a haul of 35 wickets.
Hamworthy Recreation CC were arguable the unluckiest team as it looked like they’d win the league for much of the summer. But during the sun-blessed season rain affected them at the wrong time and frustratingly for them they just missed out. Steve Clifford scored 544 runs in just 11 innings and Sam Stroud took 35 wickets. As a consolation Hamworthy Recreation CC won the groundsman of the year award.
In Division Two Marnhull CC came out on top – going in the right direction again following relegation from the Premier League in 2010. They possessed the division’s leading run scorer and top wicket taker. James Vitali scored 781 runs and Edwin Ralph had 28 victims.
The runners-up spot could have been won by three teams on the last weekend but it was Weymouth CC who made it. Simon Browne’s 477 runs were valuable and they have a young, hungry captain in Harry Mitchell.
The winners of Division Three had the biggest margin of victory in the county with 28 points separating them from the runners-up. Shaftesbury CC managed this despite being unable to play at home for three months due to the hot weather affecting their outfield. Kevin Monaghan made 428 runs and they also had the three leading wicket takers in the division; Stuart Sussex (23), Terrence Langhome (20) and Monaghan with 18.
Runners-up to the runaway winners were Puddletown CC with batsmen Alby Stevens and Lucas Allen consistent through the season.
After several season finishing mid-table everything came together for Division Four winners, Sturminster and Hinton CC. AJ Rose, Gary Horne and Andrew Beale were the stand-out performers.
Runners-up in the division have spent a couple of seasons rebuilding and are now heading in the right direction. Wareham CC had the leading run scorer in the division – Matt Truman – and Sam Axon’s wickets were crucial.
In Division Five Royal Challengers Sports CC took the title with Milton Jacob’s runs and Skariah Devsia’s wickets valuable during their first season in the league.
Martinstown CC II came runners-up but Bradford Abbas CC were unlucky because they had the same playing record.
In Division Six Shaftesbury CC IIs took the top spot – giving the club two titles in the season. This was the first season their seconds had taken part.
And runners-up to them were Symene CC, a fine improvement on last year’s position.
Other awards included the Groundsman of the Year award that went to Hamworthy Recreation CC, the DACO Fair Play awards went to Martinstown CC in the Premier League and Shillingstone CC in Division One.
The Club of the Season went to Shaftesbury CC for two title winning teams, losing just three games between them.
And Player of the Season went to Broadstone CC’s Luke Carter for his haul of 876 runs.
Nick Douch from the sponsors, The Dorset Funeral Plan, said: “It was another season of close finishes and it was good to see some new teams emerge and other teams bouncing back after lean seasons.
“Without the hard work and dedication of the committee and all the volunteers and umpires we wouldn’t have had such an enjoyable summer of cricket in Dorset.
“The grounds and pitches are improving across the county and we look forward to next year’s season.”
John Ridout, chairman of the league, and its treasurer, said: “There has been some great cricket and stand-out individual performances and the weather was great – possibly even too hot for some!
“I’d like to congratulate all the winners, especially the Premier League champions who just happen to be from my club.
“We are very grateful for the continued support of our sponsors The Dorset Funeral Plan and we now start preparing for the 2019 season.”
Note to editors: The Dorset Funeral Plan is run by the The Douch Family Funeral Directors that have been helping families with funeral arrangements for over 100 years. Branches include Douch & Small, A E Jolliffe & Son, Albert Marsh, James Smith, Ives & Shand and Lesley Shand Funeral Service. They’re based in Ferndown, Wareham, Poole, Upton, Wimborne, Swanage, Blandford and Corfe Mullen.
Editor’s Note: For more information please contact: Ed Baker, Deep South Media, on 01202 534487, or Ed Baker on 07788392965.