DORSET 137 (0pts) lost to DEVON 170-5 (2pts) by six runs (revised target 144).

DORSET crashed out of the NCCA Trophy by the narrowest of margins as Devon held on to claim a nerve-jangling six-run victory at Dorchester Rec.

Late heroics from debutant Jacob Gordon had given Dorset a once unlikely chance of victory having been 16-5 in their pursuit of a rain-adjusted 144 target.

But he perished on the third-last ball to hand Devon a place in the next round as Group Two winners following a pulsating finale.

In the end, Dorset finished fourth of five teams on net run rate behind Herefordshire and Cornwall.

Earlier, Devon won the toss and elected to bat first – despite the threat of rain lurking.

Twelve runs came off left-armer Ben Fletcher’s first over, including eight wides, and Devon played watchfully early on.

Play lasted midway through the fifth over until light drizzle increased in severity, with the players forced off for around two hours.

Bournemouth Echo: Rob Pack hit a late cameo for Dorset Picture: GRAHAM HUNTRob Pack hit a late cameo for Dorset Picture: GRAHAM HUNT

As a result, the match was reduced to 44 overs per side and, when the action restarted, Dorset took a firm grip on the game.

Devon had patiently accrued 40 runs without loss before spinner Josh Digby (2-25) made the breakthrough, tempting Elliot Hamilton (20) into an ambitious shot.

While the ball veered skyward, Fletcher still had work to do and claimed a difficult tumbling catch.

Hamilton’s departure preceded a quick double for Hampshire Academy man Harry Broderick, who struck in twice in three balls to remove James Degg (15) and Matthew Golding (0).

At 45-1, Devon were in early trouble until captain Matthew Thompson (41) constructed a healthy stand with Calum Haggett.

The duo shared 88 before Thompson skied a catch to Dorset captain Luke Webb off the impressive Broderick, was the pick of the home bowlers with 3-27 from eight overs.

Haggett then took the initiative and crunched some crisp drives down the ground off the bowling of spinner Rob Pack (0-42).

The left-hander reached his fifty and eventually finished on 70 not out as Devon closed on 170-5.

That target was elevated slightly following the rain break, meaning Dorset had to chase 173 from 44 overs.

And Dorset openers Greg Willows and Oli Soames made a promising start at 10-0 in the third over before a shorter cloudburst forced the players off for a second time, altering the target again, this time to 144.

The intervention of rain proved crucial in Dorset’s reply as the hosts lost five wickets for five runs in a major wobble.

Edward Leonard (5-15) was the chief inflictor of pain, claiming 4-5 as he dismissed Willows (4), Webb (1), Alex Eckland for a golden duck, Soames (9) and Broderick (1).

Dorset then rebuilt with the ever dependable Ed Ellis (25) and Simon Woodruff (27) working hard to put Dorset back in the game.

Woodruff fired a huge six into the cemetery as Dorset began to edge into the box seat, guided by the calm Jacob Gordon.

When Woodruff fell to Popham (2-20), it was Pack (17) who took the attack to Devon, slamming a flat six over cow corner before a mix-up with Gordon saw him run out by Leonard.

Bournemouth Echo: Josh Digby, left, was the fifth wicket for Edward Leonard, right Picture: GRAHAM HUNTJosh Digby, left, was the fifth wicket for Edward Leonard, right Picture: GRAHAM HUNT

Digby (2) fell to Leonard in the penultimate over and suddenly the contest had boiled down to Dorset requiring 13 runs from the final six balls.

Gordon (45), unwilling to give up the strike, slammed the first two deliveries down the ground to a fielder before connecting sweetly for a big six into the cemetery.

However, the next ball proved his and Dorset’s downfall as a top edge off Haggett (1-36) found its way behind to Thompson, leaving Dorset six runs short and out of the competition.

Speaking to Echosport, a disappointed Webb said: “We’ve had four very close matches and two of them went our way, two of them didn’t – that’s cricket.

“It was a thrilling group stage and good for the competition but (we're) gutted not to qualify.”

Webb was delighted by Dorset’s backbone in recovering to mount a challenge for victory from 16-5.

He said: “I don’t think we were going out playing terrible cricket shots, we were getting out to some pretty good balls and it was just very unfortunate.

“But the way we fought back at the end to put ourselves in a position where we could’ve won the game is great character and shows we’ve got a lot about us as a team to even consider winning a game from 16-5.”

Bournemouth Echo: Jacob Gordon scored a superb 45 for Dorset Picture: GRAHAM HUNTJacob Gordon scored a superb 45 for Dorset Picture: GRAHAM HUNT

Webb reserves special praise for Bashley man Gordon, adding: “Jacob on debut, that’s a phenomenal effort.

“It shows where we are as a team that you can lose your key batters in the top six but still go on to nearly win a match.

“We’ve got talented cricketers throughout the team and it’s only going to stand us in good stead.

“If we put ourselves in these positions continuously then we’ll win games more often than not.”