WIMBORNE have won the Dorset League Premier Division title for the first time since 2018, losing only one of their 13 completed matches.

They clinched the title with a five-wicket win over Blandford to finish 22 points above Poole Town, whose final match against Bere Regis was abandoned in mid-afternoon, writes Mike Vimpany.

But beating Blandford was not straightforward as Wimborne lurched to 73-5 (Mike Shepherd 3-13) chasing 149 before Colin Randall (64) and stand-in skipper Simon Watkins (39) shared an unbroken 70-run sixth-wicket partnership to ease them home without further loss.

Wimborne captain Ben Bridgen was not able to play against Blandford and admitted: "I was watching the game on YouTube and was getting pretty nervous when we were 73-5 but the experienced heads of Colin (Randall) and Watto (Steve Watkins) saw us home nicely in the end.

"I’m very proud of the lads this season. The youngsters need to take a lot of credit. Each week we’ve been playing six or seven lads at the age of 16 years and under which shows the strength in our youth set up.

"Connor Houldsworth only turned 15 years of age midway through the season and his 27-wicket haul put him second in the Dorset League averages.

“He was playing third and fourth team cricket in 2022."

Brigden himself made 705 runs and Colin Randall 535, while 17-year old Joseph Kelly, from the Western Australia Grade club Melville, scored 597 runs, including an unbeaten 112 in a decisive early June win over Poole Town.

"The young lads have really looked up to Joe,” said Bridgen.

“He’s been exceptional having come back from a pretty bad injury that ruled him out of the last WACA season in Perth.

"He is a super focused lad dedicated to making it as a professional and we wish him all the best in the future.”

Wimborne's Under-15 side reached the ECB national championship semi-finals and most of the team were involved in Dorset League action during the season.  

"We haven’t been afraid of selecting them and giving them important roles in the team. Obviously, you need good strong senior players around them to support their development and that's happened," he concluded.