TITLE-CHASING Merley Cobham Sports missed the opportunity to take top spot in the Dorset Premier League after being held to a 2-2 draw by Cranborne.

With only one of their title rivals in league action, Ollie Cherrett’s men would have hit the summit with a maximum haul against the Cranes but were pegged back despite James Park’s first league goal of the season and a strike from much-travelled hitman Stuart Cannie.

Merley started the afternoon in fourth place amd moved up to second at the expense of Hamworthy Recreation, whose home match with Sherborne Town reserves was postponed, and Portland United who were on League Cup duty. Weymouth reserves stay top.

Scott Martin’s single-handed assassination of Hamworthy United reserves had league officials thumbing the record books after he plundered all of Mere Town’s goals in an 8-1 win at the County Ground.

His efforts are understood to be a DPL record with the crushing defeat leaving the Hammers floundering in the bottom two. Scott Logan scored United’s consolation from the penalty spot.

Elsewhere, Swanage Town & Herston maintained their recent run of form by sweeping aside Purbeck rivals Wareham Rangers in the final 20 minutes of their derby date.

Top scorer Sam Beal bagged a quick-fire brace for Swans in the 71st and 75th minutes to take to 13 his league tally for the season before Tony Parrott rounded off the scoring in the latter stages.

Alan Lay’s men have now won five of their past seven league matches with eight of their nine DPL victories this season coming from their past 11 games.

Blandford United remain in mid-table after slipping to a 3-1 home defeat to Shaftesbury Town.

Saul Boulton was on target for the Royals but Taylor Godden’s brace and a strike from Josh Spoors pouched the points for the visitors.

Poole Borough’s home match with Holt United was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Parley Sports exited the League Cup at the quarter-final stage after a 4-2 reverse at Tintinhull.

Bradley Kendrick and Daniel Hickford got on the scoresheet for the visitors at Montacute Road but Phillip Ormord’s double and one each for Ciaran Levet and Sean Westlake ended Sports’ cup adventure.

Hamworthy Recreation will look to avoid a similar fate in the semi-final.