Dipple & Conway Opticians Norfolk Alliance round-up: Premier Division Sprowston’s slide continues

Thetford (batting) v Topcroft cricket.Liam Conroy batting with M Kulkarmi bowling.

Thetford (batting) v Topcroft cricket.Liam Conroy batting with M Kulkarmi bowling. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Brooke kept their championship charge on track by ensuring Sprowston's challenge continues to go off the rails.

Thetford (batting v Topcroft cricket.

Thetford (batting v Topcroft cricket. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Without overseas star Damon Egan, Sprowston's hopes of promotion appear to have run out of steam. And that certainly seemed to be the case at the weekend as they lost for the third match in a row against a team whose Premier Division title hopes are heading in a different direction.

Brooke arrived at their latest destination looking to build on a 24-point lead that they had finally managed to open up at the top of the table. And that's what they did by recording a crucial 62-run victory that leaves them 41 ahead of Sprowston and 36 in front of Old Buckenham.

In the match between first and third, it was the former who opened the batting to the tune of 260 all out thanks to decent contributions across the board. Michael Jones (3-41) and Ben Wright (3-26) were the key men in a reply that looked on course until Sridhar Tenjarla was run out by Richard Porter for 54.

Buckenham powered from fourth to second by edging an exciting clash against Garboldisham to swap places with them in the table. James Deacon (76) and Matthew Bint (53) were the mainstays in an innings that ended on 187-9.

Horsford gave their EAPL survival hopes a huge shot in the arm by beating Norwich.

Horsford gave their EAPL survival hopes a huge shot in the arm by beating Norwich. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

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Kieran Pask (5-46) and Robert Fuller (4-29) probably thought they had done enough with the ball to ensure a victory would eventually arrive. Yet it didn't as a string of mini collapses proved costly to leave Garboldisham just 20 runs short.

Rob Austin (3-24) and Robert Thurley (4-34) took wickets at key moments but must have feared their efforts were going to go unrewarded when tailender Robert Fuller started swinging his bat. His resistance ended at 40 to leave the Bucks celebrating.

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Chad Bowes' latest act of heroics, 127, was ably supported by Luke Findlay's 54 in Fakenham's 27-home run success against Downham Town. David Turner (125) and Richard Charlwood (103) also posted three-figure returns as Cromer increased Swardeston A's relegation fears.

Diss remain marooned in the drop zone with them having lost a low-scoring affair at North Runcton. The hosts didn't lose a wicket in search of a paltry 93.

Thetford (batting v Topcroft cricket.Liam Conroy

Thetford (batting v Topcroft cricket.Liam Conroy - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

It wasn't just Horsford's senior side that enjoyed a memorable weekend victory with the club's second-string, top of Division One, winning by 63 runs at Stow. Oscar Binny carried his bat for a stupendous 171.

Acle remained hot on their heels by clinching a 58-run success at bottom side Asmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers.

Dereham got their promotion hopes up and running again by edging a home derby against Mattishall by 53 runs. That defeat wasn't too damaging for third-from-bottom Mattishall as the side below them, Topcroft, also lost.

Leaders pile on the runs in latest victory

Bircham went run crazy as they continued their domination of the sixth tier.

The Division Five champions-in-waiting, who have only lost once this season, won the toss and elected to bat – a decision which made for a miserable afternoon for the bowlers of Swardeston CEYMS.

Openers Will Pillinger and Shaun Fisher piled on the runs at an alarming rate of knots to put team-mate Robert Preston's 48 firmly in the shade as the hosts amassed 378-4 from their 45 overs. Pillinger scored 160 with Fisher adding 84 of his own.

CEYMS' main bowlers all went for more than 50 runs with even those who only had five-over spells going for 30 and above, such was Bircham's dominance.

For the majority of their side things were not much better with the bat. But Kevin Cooper ensured it wasn't a complete write off by carrying his for a resilient and, given the circumstances, courageous, 116 in what was always going to be a losing run chase. CEYMS ended their efforts a giant 198 runs short.

Plenty of other lower-tier batsmen made their mark – not quite as impressively as Pillinger – with Jason Cockings (114 not out, Beccles A), John Allen (125no, Martham), Cameron McIsaac (119no, Mundford) and Paul Harwood (114, Downham A) all enjoying raising their bats aloft.

A host of four-wicket hauls lit up other matches but Jack North went one better. He took five of Sprowston A's dismissals at Winterton, conceding just 33 runs from his nine overs in the process. However, it was not enough as despite opening pair Josh Glozier (74) and Matthew Rush's (72) efforts, their team collapsed to 195 all out, 89 runs short.

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