YOUNGSTERS Lewis Freak and Connor Smith led the way as Bournemouth ended St Cross Symondians' six-match winning start to the ECB Southern Premier League cricket season.

The pair both hit maiden league fifties, with 17-year old left-arm spinner Smith bowling Bournemouth to a remarkable 67-run victory over the defending Premier Division champions having earlier featured in a dramatic half-century last wicket partnership.

Bournemouth pulled off the win from the depths of 29-4 - Dorset captain Luke Webb was trapped leg before off the first ball of the match - to post a competitive 236 all out.

Australian pace bowler Sam Beer (3-27) then whipped out Tom Willoughby and Nick Park, both caught behind, before South African raised teen James Van Gool became the first of three victims for Bournemouth old boy Simon Woodruff (3-66) on his Chapel Gate return.

A century fifth-wicket stand either side of lunch between Freak (63) and Tom Robinson (43) prompted a significant turnaround - Bournemouth recovering to 130-4 before a wicket brace by Jack Bransgrove (2-9) led to St Cross regaining the initiative with the Lions 169-8.

With St Cross wilting in the heat, Bournemouth seized the initiative to really turn the screw with Smith hitting 10 boundaries in a highest yet 52 as the last wicket yielded a precious 55 runs.

Bournemouth's second recovery took its toll on a weary St Cross, who lost Bransgrove to the fourth ball of their innings and proceeded to lose wickets all too regularly thereafter.

Harry Trussler (79) underpinned the St Cross reply, but Joe Lewis (16) and Charlie Gwynn (20) apart, no other batsman got into double figures as Bournemouth continued to make inroads.

Woodruff's run out (at 134-4) arguably ended Symondians' fading prospects and when Trussler perished to an ill-judged reverse sweep off the buoyant Smith (157-8), the game was up.

It was the champions' first SPL defeat since July 23, 2022.