Tailenders dig in to earn Vauxhall Mallards an unlikely draw
- Credit: Archant
Vauxhall Mallards may be struggling at the foot of the Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League - but they showed on Saturday that there is no lack of spirit in the camp.
On a day when rain played havoc with the programme, Mallards managed to get a game in at Halvergate and came out of it with a draw despite yet another batting collapse.
Adam Todd's side slid to 59-8 in reply to Burwell and Exning's impressive 253-7 in a reduced allocation of 42 overs but there was then a sting in the tail as they finished on 104-9, with a remarkable display of stoicism from young Charlie Nunn setting the tone for a heartening backs-to-the-wall effort.
Nunn faced 50 balls while scoring just one run as the Burwell bowlers were denied the comfortable win they were probably expecting, and his brave knock set the scene for a match-saving ninth wicket stand of 45 between Archie Bradnock (10 not out in 36 balls) and James Bridges (26 in 31).
Earlier Andrew Bramley had hit 20 fours in an unbeaten 122 as the visitors scored at six runs an over to set up what looked like being a winning total until the Mallards' lower order knuckled down to get something out of the game - although they would have picked up more points had it been rained off!
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That fate befell the scheduled fixture between Great Witchingham and leaders Frinton at Walcis Park, while the two other matches involving Norfolk sides started but did not finish.
Down in Suffolk Copdock and Old Ipswichian had reached 276-5 in the 55th over against Swardeston when the weather closed in, while Bury St Edmunds had progressed to 136-4 in 43 against Horsford. With third-placed Sudbury seeing their game at Cambridge cut short at a similar stage it's as you were at the top, with 32 points separating the top three.
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Cecil Amey Norfolk Alliance
North Runcton maintained their position at the top of the Premier Division after recording a comfortable home win over bottom side Dereham.
As was the case in most Alliance games the points were decided by a shortened contest once the rain had passed through, and Runcton took control by making 232-6 in 40 overs, with Mark Skipper scoring 71 and Nick Freeman an unbeaten 45. Dereham could only reach 97 in reply, extras being the top scorer on 28. Jack Major (4-20), Ben Coote (3-12) and Josh Ring (3-28) shared the wickets between them.
Fakenham kept the pressure on by beating Diss by 86 runs after making 226-7.
Improving Cromer put a dent in Downham Town's title hopes with a thrilling six run win in a 35 over game.
David Turner's 54 helped the hosts up to 180 and that proved just enough as Downham finished on 174-9, with Michael Warnes (7-4-8-2) and Alfie Woodrow (7-0-20-2) the pick of the bowlers.
Brooke were denied an opportunity to move into the top three when their match at Norwich was abandoned after they had reached 214-6.
Division One leaders Old Buckenham were beaten for only the second time this season after coming out on the wrong side of a 20 over fixture against Horsford A. They finished on 111-8 chasing 121-7.
Lowestoft closed the gap at the top to 27 points following an emphatic win over Acle, with Christian Stent again playing a key role. The former Bexleyheath player followed up a brilliant unbeaten century the previous weekend with 52 this time around as Town reached 239, George Sims top scoring with 55.
Stent has been in superb form since opening the season with scores of nought, four and nought and has now made 401 runs while losing his wicket just twice.
In reply Craig Guy took 5-15 as Acle were despatched for 85.
Thetford's good season continued when they cruised past lowly Beccles with seven wickets in hand in a 35 over fixture. Chasing a modest 134-8 they finished on 138-3, with an unbroken partnership of 64 between Neil Lockwood (34 not out) and Andrew Kerling (28 not out) seeing them home.
An exciting race for promotion is building up in Division Two, with just three points separating the top three. Bradfield were handed a win when Downham A conceded while Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers had to work for their points - but not too hard - as they saw off Norwich A by 153 runs. Jordan Everett's 75 helped them up to 221 and Joe Everett then took 5-30 as the visitors were despatched for just 68.
Morning leaders Hethersett and Tas Valley lost ground when their game at Garboldisham A was rained off with the hosts on 79-3.