Belton stun champs Martham to secure safety

After a miserably soggy cricket season, Belton produced a rabbit from the hat on the hottest day of the year so far. In temperatures soaring past 30 degrees, the team avoided Norfolk League Divison Two relegation by beating runaway champions Martham CC – who had been undefeated in three seasons.

Belton’s future in Division Two was in some peril after a lack-lustre season. They knew that they would have to win one of their two remaining fixtures to stay at that level.

Batting first, Belton’s Day was an early casualty, but A Savoury (57) and Toll (29) painstakingly compiled an 81-run partnership for the second wicket in the baking heat against some nagging Martham bowling. Both eventually fell to tired shots as the sun continued to scorch the ground.

Ali (44) and Cropley (32) continued where the openers had left off, but when both fell on 175, the innings faltered with six overs to go. The middle-order and tail could only muster a further 39 runs between them, the total of 214 being competitive, but surely not enough to trouble the runaway league champions. Martham’s Adam Sayer was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4 for 54 off nine overs.

Suitably stuffed with strawberries and cake, Martham set about preserving their proud record. Chasing 215 to win, Woodhouse (23) and Stranach (9) were pinned down by the pace of Nichols and the guile of Chanchalani. With Belton’s fielders running their hearts out in the heat to prevent every single, the visitors were unable to compile a meaningful partnership. Skipper Ali blasted out two middle order batters, whilst late replacement Bhardwaj chipped in with three wickets.

When Warner knocked over the last batsman, Belton were home and dry by a huge margin of 79 runs.

Belton travel to relegation-threatened Hales and Loddon for their final game tomorrow.

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Tolly’s Man of the Match: Harry Chanchalani, four wickets and two catches.

Belton ntertained Mid Norfolk Sunday League Burgess Shield Division Two league leaders Bradfield on Sunday and despite being somewhat under-strength nearly delivered a first defeat to the pace-setters.

After Belton skipper Adam Savoury decided to bat Chris Cropley held the innings together with a fine 42 before he was run out attempting a quick two. George Savoury (11 and Joe Bracewell (15) were the other double figure scorers. Belton closed on 147 from nearly 39 overs. P. Abbs was the pick of the visitors’ bowling attack with 3 for 7.

In reply Bradfield made steady progress but Belton took occasional wickets. The 67 from Robinson and 26 from the Abbs sealed Belton’s fate. With one required Savoury turned to Myles Wright and he promptly dismissed Robinson and took a wicket with the next ball – leaving him the unlikely hat-trick hero. Wiseman charged down the wicket and missed the ball which bounced agonisingly over middle stump and eluded the keeper for Bradfield to win by three wickets.