Norfolk Alliance round-up: Brooke steal a march on their Premier Division rivals
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
Brooke almost took full advantage of the wet weather to open up a 15-point gap at the top of the Premier Division.
While morning leaders Sprowston were left picking up five points after their home clash against Downham Town fell foul of a waterlogged pitch, their nearest rivals triumphed on the road to pull clear in the title race.
Chasing 199 for victory at Garboldisham, Brooke got across the line for the loss of six wickets to add 22 points – just three short of the maximum on offer – to their total.
Having been frustrated by Henry Phoenix's unbeaten 75, despite the best efforts of Rob Setchell (2-19) and Christopher Sheehy (2-35), the visitors kept their composure.
Even when opening batsman Dan Constable followed up his 52 with an excellent 4-24, Robert Porter's steady 36 had already ensured his side were on the way to their seventh success of the campaign. Richard Porter and Michael Jones added 41 runs apiece before the latter and John Habershon (33) got the job done.
Defeated Garboldisham, third before the clash, dropped to fifth as the chasing pack continue to jockey for position while attempting to chase down the top two.
Run-hungry Cromer are now in pole position to put the pressure on having bounced back from last weekend's incredible defeat to North Runcton. Despite scoring at more than seven an over the north Norfolk club's 357-8 could not secure a success. But it was a different story this week as they only needed a mere, by their standards, haul of 260 at Diss.
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Rob Purton followed up his phenomenal knock of 141 by carrying his bat for 109. Team-mate Richard Charlwood joined in on the fun to the tune of 94 but it was far from a two-man job with the ball as the wickets were shared out during Diss' failed run-chase – which ended at 192-9.
Elsewhere, champions Fakenham's resurgence was checked by a 34-run defeat at Runcton – for whom Jack Major (5-30) starred – and basement boys Swardeston A lost again, this time at Old Buckenham. Dan Poulton's 5-54 provided something for the strugglers to smile about.
In Division One, leaders Horsford A and their nearest challengers Dereham won again while third-placed Lowestoft Town were beaten at home by Thetford Town. The table-toppers saw off Norwich A while the team on their tails edged relegated Stow by 23 runs.
Lowestoft's reverse owed much to the Conroys as the Thetford duo, Ryan and Liam, chalked up 114 runs between them. The former walked off with his wicket in tact having added 60.
Mattishall squeezed past Acle having posted 189 all out. The visitors only fell nine short of a draw and may have been successful in their quest had it not been for the four-wicket returns of Jay Eastoe-Smith and Tom Spalding.
On-song Will's still hitting the right notes
Bowler Will Dewing extended his red-hot streak by taking six more Division Two wickets.
The in-form Bradenham player has been on song with the ball this season claiming his fair share of headlines having banged in hat-tricks during back-to-back matches last month. That incredible feat came hot on the heels of Dewing claiming a stunning 7-25 and the star turn was at it again on Saturday as he inspired his improving troops to another triumph.
Having scrapped their way to 165 all out, with all of the top five reaching unspectacular double figures, they needed the man of the moment to be at his best as Hethersett & Tas Valley eyed a victory to keep tabs with the leading pack. Dewing removed the hosts' top three early on and after Iain Brown claimed the vital wicket of Damian Fahy for 62, the paceman returned to rip through Tas' middle order to end with figures of 6-33 and ensure Bradenham's upturn continued.
At the top of the third tier, Vauxhall Mallards leapfrogged their Great Witchingham counterparts – through no fault of the latter's own. The Witches' second-string saw their game washed out while Mallards A had Tom Miller's 64 to thank for a 62-run win at Fakenham A.
Acle A lost ground in the battle for Division Three supremacy when they were humbled on their own wicket. Needing 154, Swaffham's Matthew Brockman-Smith tore through their batting line-up with a devastating 5-14 as the hosts were skittled for just 61. Leaders Downham Town A beat Sprowston A by three wickets.
Lower-tier morning leaders Garboldisham A (Division Four) and Bircham (Five) saw their matches abandoned while Division Six pacesetters Hockwold suffered only their third defeat of the term at home to Bradfield A.