Norwich and Fakenham kept their bids to return to the EAPL on track with convincing Alliance Premier Division victories.

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But Vauxhall Mallards A underlined their determination not to let them have everything their own way in the title race as the Division’s only other unbeaten side climbed into third place, taking advantage of Downham’s defeat by North Runcton.

There were half centuries for Chris Borrett and Nathan Shearer as leaders Norwich turned on the power at Lowestoft. The seasiders folded tamely in pursuit of a 223 victory target as Aaron Watson (5-37) and Paul Wiseman (4-22) combined to help dismiss them for 128 despite a battling half century from Nathan Garrod.

Meanwhile second-placed Fakenham made light work of their match against newly-merged Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers with Ashley Jarvis bagging 4 for 18 as the visitors were dismissed for 103. Fakenham wrapped up the win with five wickets in hand.

Vauxhall Mallards A climbed from fifth to third after an entertaining encounter with last season’s runners-up Sprowston who fell 22 runs short of a 210 victory target. Steve Goldsmith’s 81 had been the cornerstone of the Mallards total as Rob Purton took 4-13 for the opposition. Simon Chipperfield and Purton led the reply for Sprowston with half centuries but they were undone by the bowling of James Ing (6-58).

Four times previous champions Downham dropped from third to fourth after a five-wicket defeat at North Runcton. Dom Tullett topscored with an unbeaten 68 but Alistair Price’s 102 helped Runcton to secure West Norfolk derby success.

Winless Acle’s batting frailties were exposed again as they were dismissed for 126 and slumped to a 57-run defeat at Stow with South African Luandre Van Wyk and Peter Griffin sharing eight wickets for the hosts.

The other top flight encounter saw Old Buckenham emerge with the lion’s share of the ponts after a draw with Diss.

Horsford A took advantage of morning leaders Dereham’s defeat by Mattishall, to go top of Division One. Nathan Perry Warnes and Chris Browne hit half-centuries in a 62-run win over Topcroft at Manor Park.

In-form Brooke climbed into third with their third win in a row. Alex Kimber (40) topscored in Bradfield’s 150 total before John Reynolds (40) helped his side to a four-wicket win.

Swardeston A returned from Norwich A with an 126-run victory. The visitors posted 200-9 after Jordan Taylor (46) and Daniel Martin (65) had compiled a 98-run stand for the first wicket. Olly Sutton took 4-47 for the hosts.

In reply Norwich could only muster 74, with Steve Cadge taking 5-32 and Rob Newman 4-13.

Dean Elliott took 6 for 34 and Richard Charlwood hit 61 in Cromer’s 59-run win at Bradenham. Will Dewing bagged four wickets and Kevin Blakey hit a half century for the hosts.

Swardeston B stayed top of Division Two after a 32-run win at Saham Toney, Dave Micklethwaite (43 not out) topscoring.

Xavier Huckle threatened a Saham Toney win with a quickfire 66, but once he fell Swardeston wrapped up victory.

Richard Porter’s 110 helped Beccles to keep the pressure on in second place after a winning draw against Downham A for whom Jack Gould bagged four wickets.

Phil Squire, back in action after injury, gave bottom-of-the-table Hales some cheer with 65 in an eight-wicket home win over Saxlingham whose 142-4 total included an Anthony Pearson half-century.

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