Austin fuels Winterton promotion drive

DESPITE an indifferent fielding display, Norfolk Alliance Division Five promotion-chasers promotion-chasing Winterton secured another valuable victory, by five wickets over Aldborough.

On winning the toss Bryn Clarke, standing in for the injured Kevin Percival, elected to bowl first on a wicket that looked to have been affected by earlier heavy rain. Richard Larner and left-arm spinner Danny Snowling opened the bowling and there was immediately variable bounce and turn.

The Aldborough batsmen Cramp and Watson enjoyed some early fortune, both men being dropped in successive balls off Larner. Also with the ball dropping just over and just short of the fielders, as well as some more missed catches, there followed a frustrating number of overs for the Winterton team.

Despite the bowlers being changed around it was not possible to get a wicket, and the two Aldborough men grafted their way to an opening stand of 99 in 29 overs.

During this period Matty Stanhope-Smith, on his first team debut, bowled a creditable four-over spell and showed great promise for the future. Charles Lockhart also bowled well from the other end. Eventually Clarke turned to Ryan Edmonds for his first bowl of the season and he struck with his second ball when Cramp edged behind to Fred Playford to be caught for 27.

Watson by this time had moved past his 50 and was looking to attack the bowling, as were the incoming batsmen. The run rate began to increase but Winterton started to work their way through the batting.

With the score on 125 Snowling forced Watson to chip a ball to mid-off to be caught for 58 and also had Jones (16) and Youngman (21) caught by Geoff Roper and Playford respectively. Richard Larner then came back for a three-over spell at the end of the innings and took four wickets for 10 runs to continue his excellent bowling form. Aldborough closed their innings at 173 for 8.

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Winterton realised their target was not going to be an easy one in the conditions and Clarke and Josh Austin were soon suffering the same problems experienced by the Aldborough batsmen.

Nevertheless the two tried to play positively and score wherever they could and kept up a rate of around four an over. Both batsmen received a life on the difficult track but Austin began to unfurl his crisp, straight driving.

Hawes and Cramp had come into the attack and Hawes’ height made him difficult to score off and the rate slowed slightly. However, the score had moved to 111 in the 29th over with Austin having reached a polished 50.

Winterton looked set to comfortably close in on their target. Jones replaced Hawes, and after a poor first over found his accuracy.

The Winterton innings wobbled. A shorter ball got big on Austin who was caught a square leg for 59 and Roper was caught shortly afterwards at short cover.

Clarke (41) was bowled by Cramp and with the score 124 with 11 overs remaining, the game was in the balance.

Snowling was promoted up the order and Winterton won with five wickets in hand.