SWANAGE became the latest side to fall victim to unbeaten leaders Puddletown in Dorset Cricket League Division One, but they ran them extremely close.

Having elected to field first in overcast conditions, all Swanage's bowlers worked excellently in-tandem to reduce the hosts much-vaunted batting line-up to 84 for six.

Skipper Ben Hodder led the way, ably supported by Steve Kent, Steve Ramsay and Ryan Stearn. However, an exceptional seventh wicket partnership enabled the hosts to post a respectable 162 for seven from their 40 overs.

In reply, the visitors got off to the worst possible start losing two quick wickets. Despite this, the momentum changed with an enterprising half-century partnership between Mark Stacey and Craig Wells.

However, when the in-form Stacey was spectacularly caught for a fluent 42 and Wells (21) departed in quick succession, the momentum swung back to the hosts.

In an amazing game, which ebbed and flowed both ways, Swanage then looked to be in control with Hodder and John Gregory batting superbly.

But when they also both fell in quick succession for 31 and 21 respectively, the momentum swung back to the hosts again for a final time and Swanage were left agonisingly nine runs short of their target.

Also on Saturday, the second XI played hosts to Portland in Division Four.

The hosts batted first and despite 29 from Sam Willcocks, found themselves in deep trouble at 94 for six. However, the innings was rescued by a brilliant partnership of 71 between Harry Long and Mike Wells.

When Long fell for 28, Wells was joined by Sid Nash together they increased the tempo still further with Nash smashing a quickfire 25 and Wells who remained unbeaten on 55 - with eight boundaries. This enabled Swans to post an imposing total of 211 for seven.

In reply, the visitors were soon under severe pressure due to sensational bowling by both Josh Evans and Lily Wood. The pressure was maintained on the visitors by Pete Barker and Nash as Portland were restricted to just 156 for six. This comprehensive victory made it three wins out of four.

The third XI entertained Wimborne and despite a defeat for Tim Ives's side, it was memorable for Ed Cross - who made his first half-century (66) for the club and some invaluable experience for some of the club's younger players.