SWANAGE skipper Ryan Norman saluted his players after they had bounced back from two defeats to record a convincing 51-run win over Premier Division rivals Shroton at Day’s Park.

Swans’ title credentials had been called into question following back-to-back one-wicket reverses at the hands of Broadstone and Dorchester.

But they responded by brushing aside lowly Shroton to maintain a narrow three-point lead at the summit in what would appear to be a two-horse race between them and Broadstone.

Norman said: “After a couple of very narrow losses, we would have taken a scrappy win to get us back on track.

“But our performance was very good. We batted well to post a competitive total and then bowled and fielded to a very good level.”

Useful contributions at the top of the order from Dan Salmon (24), Ian Booth (24) and Mike Salmon (40) gave Swans a decent platform at 137 for three.

And although Booth and Pete Richards departed in quick succession, a crucial sixth-wicket stand of 94 between Ben Baczala (53) and Ryan Norman (54*) put them in command, the hosts closing on 248 for seven.

The Shroton reply started well until Richards claimed the scalp of opener Steven Franklin (44).

Wickets were then shared – Mike Hernandez (2-23), Richards (2-23), Steve Kent (2-29), Norman (1-33) and Matt Beard (1-19) – as the visitors were stopped at 197 for nine.

Jo Malone and Tony Robinson shared the man-of-the-match plaudits as Christchurch registered a 78-run win over Division One rivals Hamworthy Recreation.

Skipper Malone (82) cracked 14 fours and a six as the hosts posted a challenging 183 at Hurn Bridge.

James Cross (22) and Tom Hughes (15) also chipped in, while 34 extras – including no fewer than 26 wides – boosted the Christchurch total.

Hughes (2-24) removed Sean Mulley and Eddie Wilson to leave Hamworthy Recreation reeling at 20 for two before Cross (1-24) bowled opener Peter Hoar with the score on 41.

Robinson (5-23) entered the fray and promptly dismantled the visitors’ middle order, claiming the scalps of Harry Poole, Sam Stroud, Alex Peel, Jacob Gordon and Matt Gordon as they collapsed to 80 for eight.

Jack Salter (1-15) and Adam Arthur (1-2) mopped up the tail as Christchurch wrapped up victory inside 30 overs with Rec dismissed for 105.

Victory saw Christchurch maintain second place in the table, although leaders Bere Regis remain favourites for the title.

They routed Poole Town seconds for just 41 before reaching 42 for two to chalk up an eight-wicket victory.