Dereham go marching on at top as skipper Hewitt shines
- Credit: Archant
Duncan Hewitt played a real captain's innings as Dereham maintained their recently earned position at the top of the Norfolk Alliance Division One with an impressive away win.
The opener made 102 in a total of 240-7 at Swardeston A and that proved more than enough as another fine bowling effort from Jake Anema (4-28) helped dismiss the hosts for 194 in the 49th over.
The win came hard on the heels of an important victory over previous leaders Thetford and kept Dereham 11 points clear of their main title rivals, who bounced back by seeing off Sprowston by seven wickets.
Sprowston's total of 229 was dominated by three men, with Jon Leverett (89), Sri Tenjaria (61) and Matt Evans (52 not out) scoring all but six of their runs off the bat.
It was a competitive target but Thetford overhauled it with seven overs to spare, the ever reliable Ryan Conroy seeing them home with an unbeaten 89.
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Horsford A remain third, 39 points off the promotion pace, after seeing off basement side Vauxhall Mallards by six wickets while Harry Windridge's unbeaten 114 helped fourth placed Topcroft to a 94 run win over second from bottom Lowestoft.
Up in the top flight leaders Downham Town got back to winning ways after the previous week's defeat at lowly Acle when they overcame a good challenge from relegation threatened Cromer to win by five wickets.
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Chasing a solid total of 218-6, Town finally sealed the win off the final ball of the 48th over, Ian Harrison having laid the foundations with an innings of 73.
The defending champions are now 33 points ahead of second placed Fakenham who made it seven wins on the trot by seeing off Old Buckenham. A total of 199-8 proved well out of reach of the struggling Bucks, who were dismissed for 113.
Acle moved to within three points of Cromer, who currently hold the final position of safety, after following up their memorable win over Downwham with an excellent success at North Runcton,
It was a close run thing, with the visitors making 198-9 (Geoff Handley 45, Arran Dhesi 44) and then bowling the opposition out for 182 (Josh Rowe 4-32).
An in-form Diss side also record an impressive victory on their travels, bowling out Stow for just 100 after skipper Mark Williamson's 90 had helped them to 188-6.
Swaffham sealed a dramatic derby win off the final delivery to move 48 points clear at the top of Norfolk Alliance Division Two with just four rounds of matches remaining.
Veteran Duncan Lanchester helped ensure it would be a tough afternoon when he made an unbeaten 84 to help visitors Downham A up to 172-8 in their 45 overs.
It looked a tall order for the hosts when they went into the final over 11 runs adrift with just one wicket in hand. But the final pair of David Annakin (29 not out) and Matt Brockman-Smith (5 not out) saw them home, with a bye of the last ball deciding it.
The win was completed just in time, with a heavy downpour arriving shortly after the finish, and the feeling that this was Swaffham's day increased when news of defeats for their two main promotion rivals filtered through.
Martham went down by five wickets to Great Witchingham A after being bowled out for 140, with Matthew Hale's unbeaten 54 seeing the Witches home, while Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers went down to a rejuvenated Great Melton side.
Chasing 169-8 Melton got home by seven wickets, with the main contributions coming from Ben Mann (57) and Matt Clarke (39). Having failed to win any of their opening 12 games Melton have now won two on the bounce to give themselves some hope of avoiding the drop.
Division Three leaders Garboldisham A were beaten for the first time this season, with Bradenham launching a rapid run chase to pick up a notable win.
Chasing 186-9 Bradenham got home by eight wickets in double quick time as Marcus Evans (71 not out) and Will Dewing (91 not out) put on an unbroken 148 partnership in 14 overs. Dewing's knock came from 51 balls with the last 72 runs coming from just 32 balls.
The runs flow at Flordon as Hethersett and Tas Valley A saw off North Runcton A by seven wickets in Division Four.
Runcton got all the way up to 273-7 in their 45 overs but it was not enough as James Hipperson (113) and Jonathan Cooper (104) both scored tons in a reply of 274-3, with more than five overs unused.
In Division Five Horsford B's Ant Butterworth took a hat-trick in figures of 3-5 as his side beat Mattishall A by six wickets.