Norfolk Alliance round-up: Chad Bowes’ triumphant return lifts slow-starting champions Fakenham
Overseas star Chad Bowes finally made his first appearance of the season for struggling Fakenham on Saturday – and what a difference he made!
The defending champions had picked up just six points from their opening two matches without the talented young South African to slip to the bottom of the early Norfolk Alliance Premier Division table.
But with Bowes opening his campaign with a superb 129 and Keegan Monahan-Fairlie making 72 Fakenham got their campaign up and running on Saturday by recording an emphatic 114-run victory at Diss.
With their star man taking centre stage the visitors piled up 285-6 in their 50 overs and despite a defiant knock from James Wilby, who made 63, Diss never got close and were dismissed for 171.
Early pacesetters Cromer made it three wins out of three in equally resounding fashion as they saw off newly promoted Garboldisham.
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Matthew Warnes made an unbeaten 115 in an impressive total of 241-3 that also featured a half century from Rob Purton and it was too much for their hosts, who were all out for 157 as Anthony Robinson took 4-29.
Brooke made it back-to-back wins after a poor first game after piling up 330-5 against Downham, who were dismissed for just 134 in reply and have now lost all three of their fixtures. Michael Porter starred for Brooke by making 124 while Michael Jones weighed in with 88 and Matt Collinge an unbeaten 55.
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A competitive game at Old Buckenham saw the Bucks edge home by three wickets after dismissing visitors Sprowston for 225.
Terry Perry and Peter Free both made half centuries for the winners.
A superb sixth wicket partnership of 191 between Josh Larner and Gary Press was the key factor as Acle moved to the top of Division One by beating previous leaders Topcroft by 91 runs.
Acle looked in some trouble at 73-5 but that all changed as Larner (114) and Press (77) got to work, with their stand helping lift their side's total up to 313-7. Topcroft, who had won their opening two games, finished on 223-9.
The encounter between the two newly promoted sides turned out to be a rather one-sided affair as Norwich A cruised past Thetford's all out total of 214 for the loss of just two wickets to move up to second in the table with Lewis Sexton unbeaten on 124 and Mark Tipping 75.
Dereham picked up their first win of the season, and condemned Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers to a third straight defeat since relegation, when they came out on top in a tense, high-scoring game.
Dereham batted well to make 264-7 in their 50 overs and then did just enough with the ball to restrict Wanderers to 255-9. James Harbour did most of the damage with his figures of 4-32 including a hat-trick.
Match ends in tie after final-ball stumping
Acle A and Downham Town A were involved in the first tie in the Norfolk Alliance since drawn games were consigned to the history books.
The Division Three fixture was decided on the final ball of the final over as Acle tailender Harrison Tooley was stumped by Andrew Arndt off Colin Edwards going for the run that would have given his side victory.
Downham's total of 194 was built around an innings of 59 from Alex Vincent while Paul Munford was the Acle top scorer on 61.
It's only fair to start the Division Two round-up with news of a fine win for Fakenham A, who put a traumatic start to the season behind them by beating visitors Beccles by 101 runs. Having being dismissed for just 21 in their first match before having to concede their second because of a lack of players, Fakenham made a solid 234-5 before bowling out their visitors for 133. Harrison Futter (103) and Chris Crane (6-36) were the star men.
Vauxhall Mallards A – helped by the walk-over – and Hethersett &Tas Valley are setting the early pace. Tas Valley were never seriously troubled after making 247-5 against Brooke A while former Norfolk star Steve Goldsmith rolled back the years to help Mallards edge past Bradfield.
Mallards recovered from 47-5 to 221-8 as Goldsmith hammered 117, with 94 of those runs coming in boundaries, and it proved to be just enough as Bradfield were dismissed for 216.
Batting performance of the day came in Division Five where early pacesetters Bircham made 340-3 against Bradenham A before coasting home by 208 runs.
Paul Lough led the way with an unbeaten 120, ably supported by Will Pillinger (61), Robert Preston (60) and John King (50), while Aaron Howell (5-13) starred with the ball.
Bircham are one of six teams in the four lower divisions to have won all three of their matches so far.
Great Melton, Winterton and Old Buckenham II are all going great guns in Division Three, while Garboldisham II and newly promoted Happisburgh are doing likewise in Division Four and Six respectively.