Dorset held their nerve to edge out Herefordshire by nine runs in a thrilling National Counties Trophy Group Two match at Brockhampton.
Herefordshire appeared to have laid the foundations for victory when skipper Matt Pardoe made an unbeaten half century and they reached 92 without loss in the 20th over in pursuit of a target of 195.
But the next 20 overs yielded just 55 runs and Herefordshire lost six wickets as Dorset’s four-pronged spin attack applied the pressure with slow left-armer Robert Pack claiming five for 20 – four of them bowled, including Pardoe.
Ian Bullock and Barney Morgan got Herefordshire back into the game with a resourceful eighth wicket stand of 42 but Hampshire Academy seamer Harry Petrie broke the partnership and left-arm seamer Simon Woodruff soon wrapped up the last two wickets with successive deliveries.
It completed a good afternoon’s work for Woodruff who had early made 63 not out, his maiden half century in the competition, with a flurry of boundaries which provided late acceleration.
Hampshire staff man Felix Organ made a composed half century – his first in the competition – before Dorset also lost momentum in mid-innings.
Devon kept their quarter-final hopes alive with an 11 runs victory under the DLS method over Wiltshire in a rain-ruined game at Sidmouth.
Ben Beaumont top-scored with 41 in Devon’s 202 all out and Wiltshire’s reply was still taking shape at 40 for two when rain halted player after 11.5 overs.
Dorset host Devon at Dorchester next Sunday to decide who tops the group. Herefordshire, who have played their four group matches, retain a slim mathematical chance of progressing.
Wales NC booked their quarter-final place despite surrendering their unbeaten record to holders Berkshire who won by three wickets at Newport in Group Four.
A competition-best 94 from the in-form Oskar Kolk and a sixth wicket partnership of 127 between Cameron Herring (62) and Greg Holmes (47) took Wales to 247 for six.
Berkshire responded with a fourth wicket stand of 118 between acting-captain Richard Morris (67) and Dan Lincoln (52) but they stumbled after both departed in quick succession before getting home with nine balls to spare.
Wales sit out next week’s final round of group matches but they were spared an anxious wait to discover whether they have done enough to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2015 after Buckinghamshire beat Oxfordshire by 39 runs at Gerrards Cross.
Former Worcestershire and Netherlands batsman Alexei Kervezee was the star as he made 115 not out, his first Trophy century, from 98 balls.
In partnership with Cameron Parsons, Kervezee put on 110 for the seventh wicket to take Buckinghamshire to 254 for nine.
Harrison Ward and skipper Jonny Cater led Oxfordshire’s response but it was not enough to deny Buckinghamshire their first win of the season.
Cambridgeshire made it three straight wins to maintain their grip on Group Three and secure a quarter-final place by beating Lincolnshire by seven runs at Grantham.
Jack Potticary’s 89 from 86 balls and 46 from Callum Guest took Cambridgeshire to 239. Lincolnshire fell just short despite half centuries from Sam Johnson and Jordan Cook.
Joe Gatting played another important innings to help Suffolk defeat Norfolk by 17 runs at Manor Park.
Gatting followed up his match-winning knock against Lincolnshire by making 54 which stabilised the innings after Suffolk had slipped to 29 for four.
Darren Batch then weighed in with an unbeaten 64 to take them to 211 for eight in a match that was reduced to 47 overs a side.
Sam Arthurton replied with a half century and Stephan Marillier (39) again provided useful middle order runs but Norfolk came up short.
Cumbria made short work of Northumberland in the first county match staged at the Alnmouth & Lesbury club to make it three straight wins in Group One and secure their place in the last eight.
A much-changed Northumberland side were shot out for 118 despite skipper Tom Cant’s defiant 43.
Wicketkeeper Jack McCarthy (23) was the only other batsman to reach double figures as Michael Slack softened up the top order and slow left-armer Matt Sempill mopped up the tail with three for 12.
Northumberland were dismissed with more than nine overs of their innings unused and Cumbria coasted home with 28.3 overs to spare with Sam Dutton making 79 not out from 67 balls.
Staffordshire’s experienced batsman Peter Wilshaw responded to being left out of the side against Northumberland last week by making 77 in the seven wickets win over Shropshire at Oswestry.
All-rounder David Laird made the most of the switch from Wem to his home ground due to a positive COVID-19 test at that club, by making a maiden Trophy half century and sharing an eighth wicket partnership of 112 with Matty Simmonds, who also topped 50 for the first time.
Wilshaw and Staffordshire captain Alex Mellor launched Staffordshire’s chase with an opening stand of 75 before Wilshaw and Zen Malik (80 not out) added 94 for the third wicket.
Staffordshire’s final group match against Cheshire at Knypersley next Sunday will now become a shoot-out for a quarter-final place.
National Counties Trophy
Alnmouth & Lesbury: Northumberland 118, Cumbria 122-1 (Sam Dutton 79 not out). Cumbria won by nine wickets.
Oswestry: Shropshire 222-7 (David Laird 58 not out, Matty Simmonds 58 not out), Staffordshire 225-3 (Zen Malik 80 not out, Peter Wilshaw 77). Staffordshire won by seven wickets.
Sidmouth: Devon 202, Wiltshire 40-2. Devon won by 11 runs (DLS).
Brockhampton: Dorset 194-8 (Simon Woodruff 63 not out, Felix Organ 51), Herefordshire 185 (Matt Pardoe 53, Richard Pack 5-20). Dorset won by nine runs.
Grantham: Cambridgeshire 239 (Jack Potticary 89), Lincolnshire. 232 (Sam Johnson 57, Jordan Cook 57). Cambridgeshire won by seven runs.
Horsford: Suffolk 211-8 (Darren Batch 64 not out, Joe Gatting 54), Norfolk 194 (Sam Arthurton 55). Suffolk won by 17 runs.
Gerrards Cross: Buckinghamshire 254-9 (Alexei Kervezee 115 not out), Oxfordshire 215 (Harrison Ward 63). Buckinghamshire won by 39 runs.
Newport: Wales NC 247-6 (Oskar Kolk 94, Cameron Herring 62), Berkshire 248-7 (Richard Morris 67 Dan Lincoln 55). Berkshire won by three wickets.