Two miss centuries by a whisker

PUBLISHED: 09:53 04 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 July 2010

Martin Witheridge (96) and Bryn Clarke (92 not out) both just missed out on centuries as Winterton recorded another victory over old friends Halvergate to keep them top of Division Two of the Norfolk League at the halfway stage of the season.

Martin Witheridge (96) and Bryn Clarke (92 not out) both just missed out on centuries as Winterton recorded another victory over old friends Halvergate to keep them top of Division Two of the Norfolk League at the halfway stage of the season.

Halvergate won the toss and surprisingly elected to field on a hard flat surface. However their decision looked justified when Booth and Crane took two quick wickets to leave Winterton at 26 for 2 in nine overs.

This brought Witheridge to the crease and he played the sort of innings that he has been threatening to play for the last few weeks. He was soon in full flow, regularly finding the boundary.

He was particularly strong with his trademark shots straight over mid-on and mid-off. Clarke, in the meantime, was not as fluent but dug himself in and worked the ball around to keep the score ticking over whilst Witheridge carried on the assault at the other end.

Halvergate changed their bowlers about regularly but the changes did little to stem the flow of runs.

Witheridge moved quickly to his fifty and which contained nine fours. Clarke also began to find more fluency and moved onto his own 50.

The scoring rate also began to increase further. In 24 overs the pair added a total of 156 runs and at 182-1 a big score looked likely. Witheridge looked as if he was going to reach a well-deserved hundred when Brister bowled a slower ball which deceived the batsman to bowl him for 96. His innings had 14 fours and two sixes.

Clarke then came out of his shell and there was a further flurry of runs with 77 runs being added to the total in the last 12 overs. Clarke carried his bat for an unbeaten 92 and Winterton had amassed 233-5. The Halvergate bowlers all stuck manfully to their task, with Booth being the most economical.

The dependable opening duo of Ben Utting and Richard Larner opened the bowling attack and, much as they have done in previous weeks, put the opposition in difficulty from the start. Both bowled a tight line and length and were well supported in the field.

The result was that the pressure to increase the run rate resulted in wickets beginning to tumble.

At 50-5 in 19 overs Halvergate looked well out of the hunt for victory.

Larner had taken three wickets and Utting two. At 24 overs when both bowlers had finished their 12 over spells the score had reached 71 but, to their credit, Halvergate never gave up the possibility of a win and their lower order began to put bat to ball with good effect.

Gilder (34), Gill (19) Howley (40) and Crane (34) all played some big shots and put the bowlers under pressure.

Charles Lockhart produced an encouraging spell of quick bowling, picking up a wicket in the process and Tom Whichelow plugged away at the other end to add another three wickets to add to his season's tally.

However, despite the lower order's best efforts the run rate gradually grew too much and with two overs left Tom Roper bowled Crane for 34 to leave Halvergate 49 runs short at 184. Wes Noble-Parker also collected another three catches behind the stumps in another good display.

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