Dipple & Conway Opticians Norfolk Alliance round-up: Premier Division Brooke getting into top-gear

The lovely sound of bat on ball is filling the Norfolk airwaves.

The lovely sound of bat on ball is filling the Norfolk airwaves. - Credit: Colin Finch

Matt Collinge and Rob Setchell were the star men as Brooke recorded an impressive 110-win over morning leaders Cromer to join them at the top of the Premier Division table.

Cromer's perfect start to the season came to an end on a day when their visitors shone with both bat and ball to make it three wins on the spin since a disappointing opening day defeat. Collinge struck 129, including 20 fours and two sixes, as Brooke recovered from 24-4 to reach 293-8 in their 50 overs, with John Habershon (53) and Nishant Murria (49) also making important contributions.

Cromer were then dismissed for 183, with Setchell taking 5-32 as only David Turner (52) and Michael Warnes (44 not out) provided significant resistance.

Old Buckenham are just two points off the top after winning their third match out of four. They condemned a struggling Downham side to a fourth straight defeat, but only just after being bowled out for 148. Town got close, but not close enough, as Jon Lee's 5-34 saw them fall 16 runs short of victory. The evergreen Robbie Austin once again proved he is still a bowler to be reckoned with by conceding just three runs in his 10 overs.

Defending champions Fakenham had another disappointing afternoon, and on home soil too, going down by 79 runs to newly-promoted Garboldisham, for whom 249-8 was more than enough. Kristian Williman (65) and Henry Phoenix (59) were the visitors' batting stars.


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Downham and Fakenham, two of the top flight's traditional big-hitters, now occupy the bottom two places after Diss got back on track with a four-wicket victory at Swardeston A. Chasing a decent target of 231-7 they got home by four wickets as Nicholas Michaelidis (68 not out), James Wilby (59) and David Tooke (55) all impressed.

Sprowston skipper Sam Hales led from the front with an unbeaten 107 as his side prevailed in a thrilling finish against North Runcton. They eventually got past the visitors' total of 252-7 off their final ball, with Hales unbeaten on 107.

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With morning leaders Acle not playing, Topcroft moved back to the top of Division One by seeing off Dereham.

Greg Rostron contributed 75 to a total of 201-8 and they then saw out the game with a degree of comfort as their opponents were all out for 155, with Duncan Hewitt making 62.

Stow, Thetford and Lowestoft occupy the next four places after each making it three wins out of four at the weekend.

Stow were the highest scorers in the top two divisions, making 309-5 against Norwich A (Tom High 89, Ed Landymore 62) and then bowling them out for just 114 (Dan Ward 6-39).

Thetford maintained their bright start since promotion from Division Two by seeing off Mattishall by 87 runs while Lowestoft were too strong for Ashmanaugh and Barton Wanderers.

Bircham are already 41 points clear

Bircham's dream start to their Division Five campaign continued as they recorded another comprehensive win to go 41 points clear at the top of the table.

Newly promoted after joining the Alliance only last year, Bircham skittled Ashmanaugh and Barton Wanderers A for just 81 before cruising to victory in 14 overs for the loss of just two wickets. The honours were shared about, with Paul Lough taking 4-13, Aaron Howell 3-11 and Carlos Greeves 2-10.

The same division saw one of the highest scoring games of the season, with Mattishall A getting all the way up to 367-4 before seeing visitors Beccles finish on 259-9 in a spirited reply. Mattishall's Garth Stoltz stole the show with a magnificent unbeaten 160 that featured no fewer than 12 sixes.

Back up in Division Two Bradfield are the new leaders by a single point after making 227-8 against Beccles before dismissing the strugglers for just 97 (Zane Kennedy 4-19).

The runs flowed at The Common as Alex Levinson (116no) and Alex Bilham (60 not out) saw Swardeston B to victory against Fakenham A by eight wickets with an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 160. They were chasing a tough target of 281-7, which saw Jack Wells (101) also reach three figures. It's incredibly tight at the top in this section. Just seven points separate the top five teams, with Vauxhall Mallards A, Saham Toney, Hethersett and Tas Valley and Great Witchingham A the others going well.

Happisburgh continued to sparkle in their first season in the Alliance, beating Topcroft A by 104 runs to go 22 points clear in Division Six. Robert Breeze led the way with 121 while James Woolston (78) and Jamie Carter (48) also shone in a big total of 335-5. Their hosts did well to reach 231-6 (James Phillips 58).

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