Nail-biting Carter Cup semi between Horsford and Sprowston is decided by just one run

Sprowston bowler Ethan Leten. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Sprowston bowler Ethan Leten. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Horsford will take on Swardeston in next month's Carter Cup final after edging a thrilling semi against Sprowston.

Tim Nutting in explosive action for Reepham & Salle in their defeat of North Elmham. Picture: Mike W

Tim Nutting in explosive action for Reepham & Salle in their defeat of North Elmham. Picture: Mike Wyatt ABIPP - Credit: Archant

The East Anglian Premier League outfit were never expected to find it easy again their lower-level competitors – especially as they were without three key players. So it was no surprise that the Norfolk Alliance Premier basement boys took the last-four tie right to the wire at Barkers Lane, eventually losing by just one run.

Horsford batted first and built an innings around Stephan Marillier's 53 which was the highlight of a 74-run third wicket partnership. At one stage Horsford were 169-4 but were bowled out for 198 as Ethan Leten took 7-45 with his off-spin.

In reply, Sprowston were coasting with Leten scoring 34 out of a 48-run opening partnership. A second wicket partnership of 78 between Rob Purton (60) and Andy Hanby (30) took Sprowston to 123-1 with 25 overs remaining.

However, Tim Alexander removed Hanby and Sprowston collapsed to 158-6. Sam Hales (17) and Ryan Pearce (12) put on 30 for the seventh wicket to take Sprowston within 12 runs of victory. Alexander and Nathan Perry Warnes took a further three wickets to leave the home side needing three off the last over to win with the last pair at the crease.

However, number 11 Tom Rose was agonisingly given out lbw to the penultimate ball of the match – when one run would have drawn the scores level for a tie – to spark wild scenes from Horsford's players and fans. They will face their fellow EAPL members at Manor Park in the showcase on August 10.

Twenty-four hours before Sunday's cricket drama, there was another routine victory for Norfolk Division One leaders Martham. Brett Colclough struck a huge, and unbeaten, double century as his 215 guided the champions-in-waiting to a 175 run against Happisburgh. Martham are 90 points clear of their nearest challengers Great Yarmouth with just five matches to go.

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In Division Four, Richard Tubb showed he could shine in both forms of the game by taking 5-52 and posting 71 while at the crease for third-placed Felthorpe A.

Reepham & Salle edged closer to the mid-tier's title by crushing North Elmham, the side directly below them.

In other news, at a special general meeting of clubs last week, the Norfolk Cricket League voted in regionalisation of its structure. Outfits present voted by a majority of almost 2:1 in favour of changing the present structure of eight levels to one of five.

The new structure will have divisions one and two across the whole league, whilst three levels will be created below that on an East/West basis.

The new level three will be created from the current divisions three and four, level four from divisions five and six and level five from divisions seven and eight.

The start of the new structure, agreed by a similar majority, will be the 2015 season.