Garboldisham record emphatic win to topple leaders
There are new leaders in Division One of the Norfolk Alliance after a largely one-sided top-of-the-table encounter at North Runcton.
The home side went into the match against closest rivals Garboldisham looking to stretch their advantage at the top, but ended the day nine points behind them following an emphatic six-wicket defeat.
Harry Lankfer led the way with 53 for Runcton as they reached 196, with Gavin Barnes taking 4-38.
The visitors then cruised home with plenty of overs to spare, with Kieran Pask (69) and Kristian Williman (60) leading the victory charge. It looks as though it could be a two-way battle for the title, with third-placed Lowestoft Town slipping further off the pace after suffering a 69-run defeat at the hands of Topcroft, whose impressive total of 253-7 proved to be more than enough.
There was an important match at the foot of the table, with strugglers Beccles and Great Witchingham A coming face to face, and it was the Witches who gave their survival hopes a big boost.
Young Charlie Rogers took 5-42 as Beccles were bowled out for 188 and Matthew Hale (68) and Dennis Rogers (57) then led the way as the Witches eased home for the loss of just four wickets.
Up in the Premier Division Fakenham won again to stay well clear at the top, although closest challengers Sprowston did manage to close the gap by two points after an emphatic victory of their own.
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Swardeston A gave the leaders something to think about by posting 234-7 (Freddie Ruffell 93, Matthew Taylor 52) but Fakenham rose to the challenge and only lost four wickets in overhauling their target as Chad Bowes made 78 and Will Dunger 56 not out.
Sprowston proved more than a match for Brooke, whose league form has levelled out after a superb start to life in the Premier Division. An imposing total of 279-9 proved more than enough for the home side, with Brooke being dismissed for 190 in reply.
Frankie Sutton fell just four short of a century for Sprowston while Rob Purton made 77 in an opening partnership of 175. Sutton later took 4-37 while wicketkeeper Matty Rush took five catches and a stumping.
The only other positive result in the top flight came at Old Buckenham, where visitors Cromer came away with a hard-fought eight-wicket win after bowling the Bucks out for 172, thanks largely to fine figures of 5-24 from Richard Charlwood.
Defending champions Downham held on for a draw in the West Norfolk derby with three wickets in hand after Jack Gould's 101 had guided Stow to 241-4. Warren Bowman also made his mark by scoring 54.
Rocklands batsmen Steve Halls and Ben Howell set a new league record at the weekend – but still ended up on the losing side.
Just when all seemed lost in their match against Stow A the pair put on 122 for the ninth wicket, with Hales finishing unbeaten on 85 and tailender Howell contributing 42.
It surpassed the 106 set in 2013 by Fred Playford and Danny Snowling of Winterton but could not prevent Stow winning the Division Four fixture by 39 runs. Rocklands were eventrually dimissed for 212 after their visitors had posted 251-7.
Vauxhall Mallards A moved to the top of Division Three after condemning morning leaders Swaffham to a third straight defeat. Mallards got home by five wickets (Carl Amos 87 not out) after restricting their hosts to 172-8.
There were no such problems for Division Two pacesetters Norwich A who continued on their merry way by notching up their ninth victory of the campaign. Bradfield gave them a decent game, but fell 34 runs short in the end when chasing a total of 236. Hethersett & Tas Valley lost some ground after having to settle for a winning draw against Swardeston B, who shut up shop to finish on 158-6 in the face of a nominal target of 274-6. That allowed Thetford, who beat Great Melton by six wickets, to close the gap on their rivals to 14 points.
Meanwhile, Jonny Bidwell made 105 as Bradenham drew with Old Buckenham A.
Winterton recorded a crushing win in Division Four's match of the day to confirm their status as title favourites. They bowled out closest challengers Mundford for a paltry 86 (Tom Whichelow 5-31) before winning by four wickets.
Two batsman suffered the frustration of finishing on 99 not out – Bradfield A's Kieran Bunn and Brooke A's Richard Gilliat.