Beccles and Bircham get the wins they need to confirm promotion
- Credit: Archant
Going into the final weekend there were only two promotion issues to be settled at the lower levels of the Alliance.
Beccles and Bircham both required wins to confirm runners-up spots in Divisions Two and Four respectively - and both ended their campaigns on a high note by securing them in emphatic fashion.
Beccles bowled a 10-man Downham A side for just 80, with Ian Ruddock returning the fine figures of 7-2-8-3, before getting home by six wickets.
That rendered the result of Hethersett and Tas Valley's trip to Great Witchingham A irrelevant, but as it turned out third placed Valley lost anyway to finish 20 points short of the promotion mark. Ian Bryce (59) and Mark Gricks (42) helped the visitors up to 191-9 in their 45 overs but the Witches got home with five wickets to spare, with Matthew Hale finishing unbeaten on 80.
Topcroft ensured they would finish top by beating Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderes by eight wickets after restricting them to 215-6. Henry Parkinson led the run chase by scoring 94.
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Down at the bottom, Brooke A ended a poor season on a high note when they beat fellow relegated side Bradenham by seven wickets, with Sam Clabburn scoring 127 - including 112 in boundaries - and Aaron Beaumont an unbeaten 76.
The situation in Division Four was clarified quickly, with Bircham breezing past relegated Mundford to ensure they would be going up with Garboldisham A. The West Norfolk side made 250-7 (Paul Lough 50) and then bowled their visitors out for only 62 (Liam Crompton 5-15, Shaun Fisher 3-5). Mick Annear fought a lone battle for Mundford, finishing unbeaten on 39 when the next highest score was three.
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Sheringham needed a shock Bircham defeat to stand any chance of going up but ended up losing their final game against the champions. Garboldisham only made 112 but it proved just enough as the Lobsters were dismissed for 104.
In Division Six Harvey Wardle (113 not out) and Dan Cornwell (107 not out) both sparkled as Denver beat Diss A by nine wickets.