Norfolk Alliance round-up: Batsmen shine in the sun as Cromer extend their lead at the top
The runs flowed in the glorious sunshine at Cromer on Saturday – with the home side coming out on top against Diss to move 14 points clear at the top of the early Premier Division table.
The combination of a cloudless blue sky and the short boundaries at the Norton Warnes Ground proved to be an irresistible combination as batsmen from both sides had a field day.
A grand total of 649 runs were scored, with Cromer getting 345 of them for the loss of just three wickets as Matthew Warnes (126) and Rob Purton (102) combined for a superb second wicket stand.
Simon Chipperfield, like Purton a close season recruit from Sprowston, then weighed with an unbeaten 47 - and it was just as well as Diss responded in fine fashion, finishing only 41 runs short after good innings from Nicholas Michaelides (70) and Phil Squire (62).
Skipper Sam Hales led from the front as Sprowston picked up their first win of the season after rain ruined their opening game.
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Opponents Downham Town set a testing total of 258-6, with Patrick Yates making 75, and Hales' 95 proved pivotal as his side got home with just seven balls and two wickets to spare.
Matt Evans saw Sprowston to victory with an unbeaten 52 while young Aussie Damon Egan continued his bright start for the club with 42.
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These are worrying times for champions Fakenham, who find themselves bottom of the table with just six points to their name after a second comprehensive defeat.
North Runcton cruised home by six wickets after dismissing their hosts for 146, with Michael Annakin taking 4-12.
Brooke got back on track after a poor opening day when they beat Garboldisham by 30 runs after making 226-9 in their 50 overs. Mike Jones led the way with the bat, scoring 106, while Tom Nudd took 4-35 to restrict the newly promoted side.
Topcroft are the early pacesetters in Division One after making it two wins on the trot with a seven wicket success over Ashmanaugh and Barton Wanderers, whose total of 226-9 never looked like being enough. Ian Todd's unbeaten 68 was the innings that saw them home.
New boys Thetford are also going well. They maintained their bright start by dismissing Lowestoft for 155 (Lewis Greyson 6-27) and then getting home by five wickets thanks in no small part to Liam Conroy's 62 not out. Acle got the better of Mattishall in a high-scoring game – and in some style – when they recorded a nine wicket win when chasing a daunting 254-8. Tom Wilson (117 not out) and Peter Nobbs (101 not out) were the men to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
The most one-sided game in the top two divisions came at Manor Park, where Norwich A got home without losing a wicket after dismissing their Horsford counterparts for just 103.
Fakenham are unable to raise a second team
It may have been a perfect day for a game of cricket – but that didn't prevent the worrying issue of clubs being unable to raise a side from rearing its ugly head again.
It's generally only a problem for teams lower down the pecking order, but on Saturday a match in third flight of the Norfolk Alliance had to be called off because not enough people wanted to play.
Surprisingly the club with a lack of numbers were Premier Division champions Fakenham, who were forced to concede their A team fixture against Vauxhall Mallards A in Division Two after finding it impossible to put a team together.
It was also a struggle for Mundford in Division Three, but they decided to go ahead with their game against Winterton with just eight players – and were soundly beaten as a result. They were restricted to 43-7 and could do nothing as the seasiders reeled off a nine wicket victory in double quick time, with just 23 balls required.
Winterton are one of four early pacesetters, with Downham A, Great Melton and Old Buckenham A also going well, while Hethersett and Tas Valley are looking good in Division Two. They romped home after skittling Bradenham out for just 58.
Lewis Dunn fell just two short of a century as Martham got their Division Four campaign up and running by amassing 314-5 against North Runcton and then getting home by 82 runs while in Division Five newly promoted Bircham made it two wins out of two by seeing off Mattishall A by eight wickets.
New boys Happisburgh look like being the team to beat in Division Six. They followed up their crushing win on the opening day with a seven wicket success over Diss A. Ryan Sturgess added 73 to his record-breaking 240 on the opening day.