Beccles Town maintain Norfolk Alliance promotion push
Beccles Town maintained second position in Division Two of the Frankly Digital Norfolk Alliance, with a winning draw against third-placed Downham Market A.
But they could have moved joint top had they capitalised on an excellent first innings score boosted by a second century in two weeks from Richard Porter, by taking the final Downham wicket in a tense final� at Beef Meadow.
Town captain Porter lost the toss on a damp track and away captain Corbett unsurprisingly asked the hosts to have a bat.
Beccles got off to a disappointing start as Richard Turrell (0) was bowled by Sharp. This brought Porter to the crease, who with David George began to rebuild, before George was caught at square-leg off the economical Grady.
Porter came to the crease on the back of his hundred at Hethersett last time out, and soon began to take the attack to Downham.
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Robert Porter fell shortly before drinks, but this brought the rejuvenated Alex Wright to the crease, who was a good foil to Porter as he continued to dominate the away bowlers.
With Downham running out of ideas, Porter brought up his second hundred in consecutive weeks – the first Beccles player to do so in living memory. Wright eventually fell for a superb 46, which brought a flurry of town wickets including Porter for 110. Town closing on a very defendable 210-9.
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With the job half done it was over to the Town seam quartet to make the most of the new ball, and Wright once again struck early, removing both openers with only three on the board.
Porter then made a double change with Wright and Buck replaced by fit again David Turrell and Matt Lowe. It paid instant dividends, Turrell bowling Gould and having Smith caught by Lowe at mid-on, before Lowe deservedly bagged his first wicket for the first XI trapping Tansley with a toe-crunching Yorker plum in front, Downham 44-5.
Spin duo Ruddock and Mirner were introduced, and Mirner took the key wicket of Corbett, but Town then struggled to finish the job as once again dropped catches and poor luck halted the march towards 25 points.
Mirner bagged another vital wicket, which opened up an end to bowl at for Buck and Wright, and both struck to leave the visitors nine down with four overs left.
With all nine fielders in catching positions the pressure was on, but the chance didn't come and Downham closed on 120-9, Beccles gaining 18 points out of a possible 25, which they would have had if the last wicket was taken.
The first XI are without a game tomorrow after the withdrawal of Hillington from the league, but are away at Martham on Sunday in the rearranged Carter Plate match.
The second XI are at home to Alliance newcomers Old Catton at Beef Meadow (1pm, Saturday).