Bircham’s Over-40s turn on the style to win county title

Bircham Over-40s line up for a team picture after winning the county title. Picture: Norfolk CB

Bircham Over-40s line up for a team picture after winning the county title. Picture: Norfolk CB - Credit: Archant

Bircham won the first Norfolk Over-40s Finals Day after beating hosts Hethersett & Tas Valley by 34 runs.

The event, which took place at the picturesque Tas Valley ground in Flordon, bought the three group winners and the best-placed runners-up together to compete for the title.

The semi-finals were both one-sided affairs. South champions Hethersett & Tas Valley beat the north and east champions Drayton by eight wickets after chasing down a target of 118 inside 14 overs while west champions Bircham also saw off best runners-up Tivetshall by eight wickets after chasing a total of 94.

The final saw Bircham set Valley an imposing total of 163-3 from their 20 overs, with three batters all having to retire once they passed 30.

Valley got off to the worst possible start by losing a wicket with the first ball of the innings and from that point onwards regular wickets fell. Despite some lusty blows and a healthy run-rate, Bircham were always in control and eventually bowled out Valley in the 18th over for 131.

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In the third/fourth play-off Tivetshall came out on top by 42 runs after setting Drayton a mammoth total of 212-5 from their 20 overs.

The Norfolk Cricket Board competition has been running for the past five seasons and has grown from one league of six teams to three regionalised leagues with 16 teams playing throughout the summer.

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'The Over-40s League in Norfolk continues to go from strength to strength and today has encapsulated exactly what the competition is about,' said organiser Lewis Denmark. 'There was some entertaining cricket on display and it has been played in a great spirit and everyone involved has had an excellent day.'

Meanwhile, Norfolk Lions had to settle for second place in the East of England Development Competition after losing their final match of the season to Bedfordshire, who won the title as a result.

It was a real thriller at Manor Park, with the hosts just nine runs short when they were dismissed chasing a testing total of 265-5.

Oscar Binny (59), Hudson de Lucchi (47) and Matthew Taylor (40) were the main contributors.

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