Ideal start for Acle in Alliance

ACLE got their cricket season off to an ideal start in the Alliance Premier Division against Lowestoft on Saturday. A 54-run win represented a comfortable victory in the end for Acle, but they go into the weekend's game knowing that improvement will be required to compete with last year's champions Downham Market.

ACLE got their cricket season off to an ideal start in the Alliance Premier Division against Lowestoft on Saturday. A 54-run win represented a comfortable victory in the end for Acle, but they go into the weekend's game knowing that improvement will be required to compete with last year's champions Downham Market.

The man-of-the-match award, sponsored by Paul High, went to debutant Andy Franks for his all round contribution.

Home side Acle lost the toss and were put in to bat on a typically slow early season wicket.

They lost prolific opener Rob Porter early but newcomers Franks and Matt Short put together a solid stand to weather the new ball.

Short in particular looked in excellent touch until unfortunately inside edging onto his stumps.

That dismissal brought Adam Munford to the wicket, who played the day's most fluent innings, regularly clearing the infield and pushing the score along at a good rate until becoming the first to fall foul of several close lbw decisions.

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With 17 overs left Acle were well set at 103-3 but the dismissal of Franks, who had anchored the innings despite needing the assistance of a runner, sparked a collapse which saw six wickets fall for just 15 runs and the side struggling at 118-9.

However, an intelligent last-wicket stand between Josh Rowe and veteran Neil Grady added 25 useful runs and saw Acle through to a defendable total.

The only disappointment was Grady succumbing to calf injury while turning for a run, depriving Acle of their spearhead with the ball.

Buoyed by their late rally, Acle tore into the Lowestoft top order with new coach Paul Newman and Jon Lee removing an opener apiece.

Josh Rowe provided an excellent spell at first change, picking up the key wicket of Nathan Garrod, leading run scorer in the first division last year.

Then Lee bowled the dangerous Marcus Bishop as a just reward for his consistently attacking line.

With Acle on top, Franks refused to let Lowestoft off the hook with a frugal spell of off-spin bowling, picking up two wickets in the process.

A brace of run outs left Acle on the cusp of victory, and Jon Lee returned to polish of the tail and finish with an excellent 4-34.