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Dorset and Lincs book final berth

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Dorset and Lincolnshire will contest the Minor Counties Championship final after being crowned Western and Eastern Division champions respectively.

Dorset clinched the title courtesy of a 129-run win over Wales Minor Counties at Dean Park, thanks in no small part to Tom Hicks’ haul of 7-54.

He helped dismiss Wales for 159 in response to Dorset’s 212, which featured a dogged 54 for Nick Park and Darren Cowley’s rather more sprightly 83 off 79 balls.

Hicks weighed in with 58 in Dorset’s second-innings 233 - Alex Jones nevertheless deserves credit for figures of 6-55 - and a target of 287 proved well beyond Wales, who mustered just 157 despite Will Bragg’s 67 at the top of the order. Hicks claimed 3-40 to give him 10-94 for the match.

Lincolnshire took the Eastern Division honours after thumping title rivals Bedfordshire by nine wickets at Grantham.

Their win was also built around a splendid bowling performance, Brett Houston’s first-innings haul of 8-49 off 32.1 overs helping limit an inexperienced Bedfordshire side to 230.

Captain Paul Cook hit a fine 127 and Liam Andrews an unbeaten 67 as Lincolnshire racked up 396 for seven in reply and earn a lead of 166.

Houston managed just two wickets in the second innings, but Bedfordshire were undone by Aaron Onyon’s 5-70 as they were bundled out for 178.

A target of 14 was achieved for the loss of only Dan Birch, Lincolnshire wrapping up victory before lunch on the final day.

Dean Park in Dorset will host the final, which will be played over four days from September 5-8.