Felthorpe’s Steve Ridout ends up on the losing side after scoring 180
- Credit: Archant
Felthorpe batsman Steve Ridout produced an innings to remember at the weekend - but still ended up on the losing side after a dramatic run chase fell just short.
Chasing Happisburgh's solid total of 260-9 Felthorpe looked dead and buried at 91-8, with an in-form Ridout rapidly running out of partners after four successive batsmen had been dismissed for ducks.
But then the Norfolk League Division 2NE fixture took an extraordinary twist, with tailenders Ben Hunt and Eddie Lamb providing the necessary support as their colleague went on the attack, smashing huge sixes at regular intervals, with no fewer than nine balls being lost!
After adding 64 for the ninth wicket with Hunt (6) the game again looked all but over with score on 155-9, but Ridout's assault continued in the company of Lamb (14 not out).
Another 96 was added for the 10th wicket but it was not quite enough.
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An unlikely win was still a possibility going into the final over with 18 required. With Ridout off strike a single was scampered off the first delivery, with a huge six being struck off the second - but the Felthorpe hero was caught off the bowling of Ben Warnes from the third having made a brilliant 180, with Felthorpe an agonising 11 runs short.
"It was a kind of a bitter sweet feeling at the end," said Ridout, 23. "I had only scored one century before and that was 126 so I obviously enjoyed myself out there. But it was frustrating to have got so close and then lose the game. When we were eight down the pressure was off, I think they thought the game was won, and I just went for it. It was one of those days when I just hit the ball really cleanly, although I must admit I was dropped in the slips off my first ball!"
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Swardeston have a busy couple of weekends ahead of them, with five big games coming up in three different competitions.
As well as having the usual Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League fixtures to contend with Joe Gatting's side also have a couple of tough away tests in national contests ahead of them.
This Sunday they travel to Mildenhall to compete in the EAPL Final of the Vitality Club Twenty20 competition. The triangular tournament will see them play both the hosts and Sudbury, with the two Suffolk teams getting things under way in the morning.
Swardeston will be aiming to take another step towards national finals day, having won the competition in 2010 and 2016 and made it to the climax last year, only to be beaten in the final by Yorkshire side Hanging Heaton.
The following Sunday sees them travel to Finchley in London to compete in the last 16 of the Royal London Club Championship, which is played over 40 overs. There's a huge incentive for competing clubs this year, with the final being played at Lord's for the first time since 2008.
Gatting's men will also be focusing on the bread and butter of the league, with a home game against Bury St Edmunds on Saturday and another trip to Mildenhall on Saturday week.
They are currently 22 points adrift of leaders Frinton, who are at home to bottom side Vauxhall Mallards on Saturday.
Meanwhile Great Witchingham travel to third placed Sudbury and Horsford play host to Mildenhall.
In the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division leaders North Runcton travel to an improving Cromer side while second placed Fakenham have a derby match at lowly neighbours Dereham. There is also an interesting game at Brooke, with the fourth placed hosts taking on the side immediately above them, Downham Town.
Seniors show the way
It was a great week for Norfolk Seniors, with all teams securing victories.
The over-50s took centre stage by recording their first win for a couple of years against Lincolnshire at Mundford.
The visitors finished on 241-6, with Brett Gates (2-28) and Mark Pepper (4-52) the pick of the bowlers. Pat Dewing and Mike Spillet (48) put on 103 for the second wicket and the hosts then lost three quick wickets before Jonathon Wills (28 not out) joined Dewing in a partnership of 97 to guide Norfolk to victory with three overs to spare. Dewing finished on a superb 146 not out.
The over-60s entertained Bedfordshire at Old Buckenham, with the visitors making 221-4 (Maurice Dye 2-41). Norfolk's in-form openers then continued their excellent form with an undefeated partnership of 223, Peter Coote making 118 and Robin Yates 94.
The over-60s seconds beat Bedfordshire seconds by eight wickets at Great Melton. Chasing 161-9 Geoff Roper (106 not out) and Bryn Clarke (26) added 104 for the first wicket. Roper was later joined by Mickey Tooke (26 not out) and together they took Norfolk to a fine victory.
The over-70s welcomed Berks/Bucks to Hockwold and set a solid target of 214-7 (Martin Pearse 49, Derek Dewson 38). In reply spinners Ian Parkin (1-24) and David Powell (2-20) bowled 18 overs for 44 runs as the innings closed on 177-8.
NW Brown Twenty20
The annual Norfolk Twenty/20 competition has reached the semi-final stage, with the last group games being played this week.
On Tuesday evening Horsford beat Vauxhall Mallards by four wickets. Mallards made 119-6 (Paul Bradshaw 47) and the hosts wrapped up the win off the first ball of the penultimate over with Jason Reynolds unbeaten on 53 and Michael Eccles taking 3-19.
The following evening saw a one-sided encounter as Great Witchingham thrashed Brooke by 164 runs. Knocks of 78 from Matt Long and 64 from Jack Boyle helped the Witches up to 210-4 and they then bowled out their Alliance rivals for just 46 (Boyle 3-8, Andy Hanby 3-4, James Hale 2-11).
In the semi-finals Swardeston take on Mallards next Wednesday and Horsford play Great witchingham on Wednesday week (July 25).