Wilson guides Acle to the title

WITH promotion back to the Premier Division already secured, Acle’s victory over Topcroft by 94 runs, combined with the Old Buckenham v Bradfield match being rained off meant that they did so as champions.

Heavy overnight rain had put the game in doubt, however the Acle groundsmen worked miracles in the morning to ensure the match went ahead, and even started on time.

With the Acle score after 10 overs reading on 19 for 2 – skipper Shaun Roberts must have wondered if his decision to bat first was going to come back to haunt him.

However after the initial burst with the new ball, Rob Porter and Tom Wilson were able to address the balance of power as they got to grips with the conditions and took the Acle total to 100 before Porter was caught behind for 55.

Undeterred by this setback Acle were able to continue the assault on the Topcroft bowling attack, ably assisted by Craig Press who made an unbeaten 28. The hero of the first half of the day was Tom Wilson who recorded his second league century of the season, and in doing so took Acle to the all important 225 runs to secure five batting points. With threatening clouds looming Acle were quick to declare in an attempt to collect the points required to win the league.

The soon-to-be champions got off to the perfect start when Paul Newman took the first wicket in the third over of the innings – but he was only able to bowl another three balls before he pulled a hamstring rendering him immobile. This may have been a blessing in disguise however, as Roberts replaced him and claimed three wickets in an over. This gave Acle the enough points required to top the table provided Topcroft didn’t complete an unlikely fightback.

Tight bowling form Roberts, Lee and young Darren Ward ensured that this was not to be the case, and when Ward took the 5th wicket, the race was on to see if Acle could bowl out their opponents before bad light drew a halt to the match. The hosts edged closer and closer, but with darkness closing in and still two wickets remaining the fast bowlers had to be withdrawn.

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Despite not bowling throughout the season the ball was thrown to Adam Munford to see Acle over the line, he took his chance and soon had the bails flying back towards the pavilion as he cleaned bowled Topcroft’s number nine.

All that was left was for skipper Roberts to claim the final wicket, and in doing so claim yet another five-wicket haul, and then for the celebrations to begin.

After the match veteran Newman said: “Nearly all the teams in the league have told us we are the best side and we believed that, too, so I think Lady Luck was with us on Saturday and we quite deservedly took the honours. But this has been a real team effort this year with all the players offering major contributions to help win us matches.

“Also, we have had the benefit of playing on some great cricket wickets this year and that is all down to “Gilly”, our groundsman, so a big thanks to him, too.

“Next season we return to the Premier Division where we look to go better than in 2010, when we were desperately disappointed with our showing. Roll on 2012!”

P.N. High Man of the Match – Tom Wilson’s 100 not out gave Acle the platform to win (closely followed by Roberts for his 5 for 53)