Great Witchingham are pipped at the post as boundary catch settles it
- Credit: Archant
Not for the first time this season Great Witchingham found themselves on the wrong end of a desperately tight result in the Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League.
They gave defending champions Sudbury an excellent run for their money at Friars Street when chasing 244, only to fall an agonising three runs short.
It was the fourth time this year that the Witches had been edged out in a thrilling finish, following earlier near misses at Frinton (18 runs), at home to Sudbury (15 runs) and at Swardeston (one run).
Sudbury's solid total was built around an excellent 125 from Ben Parker while Charlie Rogers, Will Means and Andy Hanby all took three wickets.
Essex Academy coach John Childs was at the game to run the rule over Parker, Means and Rogers and must have been impressed with all three.
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It was looking an uphill battle for the Witches at 103-5, with Sam Arthurton having gone for an attractive 52, but Peter Trewick (85) and Matt Long (31) then put together a stand of 65 that gave them some hope.
When the former was bowled by Henry Shipley after hitting 11 fours and four sixes the score was 218-8 and it became 231-9 when Sam Groves went the same way.
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Last man Means joined Hanby and they entered the final over with just four required. Hanby tried to finish it on the first ball but was caught on the boundary by Darren Batch - another metre and it would have cleared the fielder.
Swardeston kept the pressure on leaders Frinton by recording a 61 run win over Bury St Edmunds at The Common.
While Frinton were being handed a walk-over by Vauxhall Mallards, Joe Gatting's side were made to work hard for the points by a visiting side who looked in with a good chance of winning after reaching 99-2 in pursuit of a modest 205.
But in the face of some typically accurate bowling they collapsed to 144 all out, with Gatting taking 4-37 and Freddie Ruffell 3-5 in just 16 balls.
On a day dominated by the ball only two batsmen passed 20 - Swardeston's Peter Lambert (81) and Bury opener Justin Broad (65).
Horsford consolidated fourth place with a 40 run win over Mildenhall at Manor Park. The hosts were dismissed for only 177, skipper Ryan Findlay top scoring with 57, but that proved more than adequate as Mildenhall were bowled out inside 38 overs.
Former Norfolk skipper Chris Brown proved he is still a bowler to be reckoned with by taking 5-43 while Pakistani paceman Sadaf Hussain reduced the visitors to 17-3 on his way to figures of 4-28.
Cecil Amey Norfolk Alliance
There are new leaders in the Premier Division, with defending champions Fakenham moving back to the top after beating struggling neighbours Dereham by 56 runs.
Keegan Monahan-Fairlie finished unbeaten on 100 and John Ewart went for 97 in an impressive total of 262-2 and their hosts finished on 212-9, with David Coyle taking 5-35.
Morning leaders North Runcton went down to an 81 run defeat at a resurgent Cromer side. The home win was set up by an opening partnership of 145 between skipper Frankie Sutton (106 in 110 balls) and Matthew Warnes (54). Cromer got up to 256-8 and despite a bright and breezy 45 from Ben Coote the visitors finished well short on 175.
Brooke moved up to third, just 11 points off the summit, after maintaining their hot streak by beating fellow contenders Downham Town by one wicket with seven balls to spare. Downham set a tough target of 276 all out (Pat Yates 65, Sam Clabburn 4-38) but Brooke were up to the challenge, with Flynn Drinkell (101 off 72 balls with eight fours and eight sixes) and Carl Amos (82) leading the way.
Norwich moved further away from the relegation zone by beating Garboldisham in a tight game.
Chasing 156 they got home by three wickets, thanks in no small part to a captain's innings of 47 from skipper Chris Borrett.
The top two in Division One both suffered defeats, opening the way for Thetford and Sprowston to close the gap.
Richard Sims shone with both bat and ball as Swardeston A beat leaders Old Buckenham.
He made 78 in a total of 206 that also featured a knock of 63 from Ed Botwright and then took 4-26 as the Bucks were all out for 165.
Second placed Lowestoft went down by 88 runs at Horsford A, for whom Chris Read made 94 out of 244-7.
Thetford saw off Topcroft by eight wickets (Chris Cooper 64, Liam Conroy 56 not out) while all-rounder Rob Purton (79 and 4-13) helped Sprowston to a 26 run victory over Swaffham.