Huge total not enough for Alliance promotion chasers Lowestoft
- Credit: Archant
Lowestoft Town turned in one of the best batting performances of the season at the weekend – but it still wasn't enough to secure the win they needed to step up their promotion challenge in Division One.
Boosted by an excellent victory at leaders Garboldisham the previous week, Town put the Mattishall bowlers to the sword to make a daunting 323-3, with Peter Mitchell contributing almost half the total with 150 and Sam Clabburn unbeaten on 67.
But the hosts then produced a spirited response before having to hang on for a draw in the end on 241-9.
With Garboldisham getting back to winning ways it was a frustrating day all round for Lowestoft, although North Runcton's failure to see off Dereham provided some consolation.
The leaders moved 19 points clear at the top – and 25 ahead of Town in third – after totalling 224 against Great Witchingham A, with Kristian Williman making 79, and then edging home by 30 runs. Nick Freeman made 101 as Runcton piled on 279-9 against Dereham, with their hosts finishing on 210-7.
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In the Premier Division the top two both scored heavily in the glorious sunshine before falling short in a chase for victory.
Leaders Fakenham must have fancied their chances against a struggling Diss side after reaching 247-8, thanks largely to two more fine knocks from Will Dunger (79) and Chad Bowes (62), but the visitors then put some poor results behind them by securing an honourable draw at 191-6, with David Tooke (96) leading the way.
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Sprowston came much closer to forcing the win after declaring on 295-6 (Harry Dalton 75) against Stow, but they were unable to take the final wicket as their opponents finished on 183-9, with skipper Keith Thompson facing 100 balls for his 21 not out.
Fakenham now have a 32-point lead with three matches to play, the next of which is at Sprowston on Saturday.
Defending champions Downham Town produced one of their best performances of what has been a disappointing campaign when they beat third placed Brooke by 50 runs. Town's total of 276-8 was too much for the visitors, who were all out for 224. Young New Zealander Nick Kelly was again Downham's star, following his 113 with figures of 5-70.
At the other end of the table Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers are beginning to look doomed, being dismissed for just 104 after seeing Cromer make 287-5.
Hethersett and Tas Valley won Division Two's match of the day to keep their title hopes very much alive.
They bowled leaders Norwich A out for 221, despite a superb 101 from Chris Borrett, and went on to secure victory by four wickets to close the gap at the top to just 17 points with three matches left. Valley's stars were Damian Fahy (83) and Jon Curtis (62).
Thetford remained in the promotion hunt by coasting to a 91-run win against Swardeston B after posting an impressive 253-7.
There is also an exciting title battle taking place in Division Three, where just six points separate leaders Brooke A and Vauxhall Mallards A.
Brooke came through a tough battle with Bungay by two wickets after bowling their visitors out for 150 while Mallards were thwarted by Great Melton A, who finished on 204-5 after being set a target of 271-8, thanks largely to Carl Amos' 104.
Long-time leaders Winterton made sure of promotion from Division Four when they beat Old Catton by 104 runs after making 204, with Danny Snowling taking 5-17. Mundford still look secure in second despite a real shock to the system against Rocklands, who dismissed them for just 89 after making 172-9.
Martham took another big step towards securing the Division Five title as they amassed an impressive 285-8 (Jack Whatmough 122) before bowling out Hethersett and Tas Valley A for 162. There's a fierce battle going on to avoid the drop in this section, with just nine points separating the bottom five teams.
Division Six leaders Bircham really went to town against Topcroft A as they recorded one of the most emphatic wins of the season. They soared to 317-4 before skittling the opposition out for just 83.