Downham Town go 50 points clear at top of Norfolk Alliance

Horsford opener Chad Bowes top scored his side with 85 Picture: TIM FERLEY

Horsford opener Chad Bowes top scored his side with 85 Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

Downham Town will take some catching at the top of the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division after seeing off closest rivals North Runcton in a tight game.

The defending champions didn't have things all their own way on Saturday but eventually edged home by 11 runs to extend their lead to 50 points with eight rounds of matches remaining.

Skipper Pat Yates made 79 and Alex Stuart 56 in a total of 219-9 before Nathan Green took 4-38 as their neighbours were dismissed for 208 in the 47th over. Norfolk all-rounder Ben Coote was the star for Runcton, following up figures of 3-29 with a top score of 41.

There was a dramatic match at the other end of table, with Diss and Acle sharing 18 points in a tie at Rectory Meadow which followed a similar result between Bradfield and Lowestoft in Division One the previous week.

Chasing Acle's total of 203-8 Diss looked in command after Chris Cooper (71) and skipper Mark Williamson (63) had put on 131 for the first wicket, meaning the hosts needed just 75 from 20 overs to win with nine wickets standing.

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The target moved on to 16 in five overs with still seven wickets in hand but then the self destruct button was pressed and come the final over the requirement was six runs with eight down.

Diss scrambled a bye from the penultimate delivery to ensure they couldn't lose but a run-out at the non-striker's end meant they missed out on the extra run that would have given them victory.

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Acle remain bottom despite the useful points haul while Diss are just outside the relegation zone, with Cromer dropping below them after losing at Garboldisham by 45 runs. The visitors were dismissed for 180 chasing a total of 225-9.

Dereham missed an opportunity to claim top spot in Division One when they were between by three wickets at Beccles.

Duncan Hewitt made 64 and David Lake 44 as the visitors were bowled out for 179 and Richard Porter then guided his side home with an unbeaten 75.

There was a big match at The Common between the second teams of Swardeston and Horsford, with the home side winning a high-scoring encounter by seven wickets.

Horsford did well to get up to 259-7 in their 50 overs as John Ratledge (82) and Matt Collinge (54) both impressed before an unbroken stand of 141 between Lewis Denmark (78) and Alfie Cooper (63) settled it.

There were two big top-of-the-table games in the lower divisions of the Alliance - and the leaders won them both to strengthen their promotion claims.

In Division Five Cromer A saw off Denver by 27 runs while it was a good deal more clear-cut in Division Six as Sandringham beat Hales and Loddon by 161 runs.

Cromer made 237-9 in their 45 overs, with Oli Kimber contributing 54, Jamie Carter 39 - including three fours and four sixes- and Tom Jackson 37. The visitors gave it a good go but were dismissed for 210, with Dan Byrne taking 4-13.

The match at Sandringham was a memorable one for home bowler Kristan Heffer who took a hat-trick on his way to figures of 5-25 as Hales and Loddon were bowled out for 109 chasing a daunting total of 261-4 (Marcus Ringwood 64, Richard Hurst 62).

Swaffham continue to look good at the top of Division Two. They bowled Mattishall out for just 142 and then sealed victory by nine wickets after captain Mark Eagle had gone for a first ball duck. The prolific Jasper Payne hit 10 fours and four sixes in an unbeaten 87 while his brother Alex (44 not out) kept him company.

The win was good enough to take Swaffham 31 points clear at the top following a surprise defeat for second placed Martham. They could only make 165 at the Coronation Ground, with Louis Smith top scoring with 54, and although they defended the total stoically visitors Norwich A got home in the final over with two wickets in hand, thanks largely to Will Bowman's unbeaten 59.

Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers are now breathing now Martham's necks after cruising past fellow promotion-chasers Downham A by nine wickets. Ali Ponder made 108 not out, putting on 94 with Jordan Everett (43) and then an unbeaten 132 with Tom Harris (56 not out) as the hosts comfortably overhauled Downham's 223-4 (Duncan Lanchester 76).

There was a real run fest at Walcis Park as visitors Saham Toney saw over Great Witchingham A by four wickets. Jonathan Spelman made his second successive ton for the seconds, following up 124 not out the previous week with 112 this time around, while Liam Channell scored 80 in a total of 252-5. But Saham Toney were up for the challenge and Simon Mower's unbeaten 103 helped seal a memorable win.

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