Hethersett & Tas Valley B hat-trick hero, 14, helps his father win again

Crispin and Dale Clarke face the camera. Crispin and Dale Clarke face the camera.

Luke McNulty
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
9:04 AM

Father-and-son duo Dale and Crispin Clarke enjoyed a day to remember as Hethersett & Tas Valley B continued their title challenge.

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Crispin, 14, lit up his side’s match against Norwich Bystanders A as he achieved a hat-trick on his way to fine figures of 4-11. The teenager’s success was extra special for his dad, and team-mate, Dale as it helped his side pick up their 10th win from 11 matches this season.

Clarke senior, Valley’s captain, said: “I thought he has been bowling very well for two months now, he had started to make a name for himself.

“I said to Crispin ‘keep to what you’re doing’ and he replied ‘I know what I’m doing’. I’d say he’s already better than me now.”

The youngster took the prized scalps of number two batsmen Clive Privett and John Spaxman during his sensational spell. Despite his father’s obvious enthusiasm, the young talent – dubbed as Norfolk’s equivalent to spin legend Shane Warne on Facebook – who has risen through the club’s youth ranks remained level headed about his exploits.

Chasing 55 for victory, neither Clarke needed to bat as Ross Jones and Ian Harrison helped their side cruise to a comfortable seven-wicket victory. The victory leaves them two points ahead of Gillingham at the top of Norfolk Division Five.

Valley’s only non-winning match this term came as a result of a rain off meaning Dale has skippered 16 consecutive victories since taking charge. And as they now look forward to their top-of-the-table clash at the weekend, Clarke senior admits he expects it to be a tight affair between the title hopefuls.

“They beat teams at a canter, while we’ve had tight games all season. They are the strongest team in this division” Hethersett’s captain said.

“This meeting isn’t the be-all and end-all of our season, it’s more about the development and progress of our younger kids”.

The hat-trick hero is just one of four 14-year-olds is Herthersett’s third string outfit as the club look to create the next crop of players who will star for the senior side in Division Two of the Dipple & Conway Opticians Norfolk Alliance. They currently sit fifth in the third-tier league, behind Great Witchingham A, Dereham, Norwich A and Fakenham A.

Gillingham, who have lost once and had three no results this year, warmed up for the weekend’s massive fixture by tasting victory against New Buckenham themselves on Saturday. However, they will need to sharpen up significantly if they are to stand any chance ahead of the visit of the league leaders.

The margin of 73-run victory disguised some uncharacteristically poor periods of play from Valley’s rivals which, but for a few key contributions, could have resulted in a significantly different outcome.

Elsewhere, Frettenham posted a huge 263-5 on their way to a crushing triumph against Sprowston C. Old Catton B edged Halvergate to remain fourth.

Sixth-placed Lowestoft B were in fine form with the bat themselves as they scored 260-7, a score which always looked like it was going to be hard to beat. Yet, Great Yarmouth A didn’t even come close as they were skittled for just 110.

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