Norfolk Alliance round-up: Champions Brooke smiling as Gary Chirimuuta and Matt Collinge sparkle

Vauxhall Mallards A batsman Luke Marchant in action against Swardeston A on Saturday. Picture: Denis

Vauxhall Mallards A batsman Luke Marchant in action against Swardeston A on Saturday. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant

Brooke have made a low-key start to the defence of their Premier Division title - but judging by Saturday's dominant performance they now appear to be moving into top gear.

After opening their campaign with three wins and three defeats, the defending champions turned on the style with both bat and ball to demolish Downham Town, who had started the day in second position.

The recent arrival of professional Gary Chirimuuta has certainly given Brooke a lift, with the young Zimbawbean scoring his second Alliance century at the weekend to help his side to an impressive 331-4 in their 50 overs.

Chirimuuta (110) and Matt Collinge (120 not out) put on a partnership of 228 for the fourth wicket, featuring no fewer than 36 boundaries, to take the game away from the visitors.

The home bowlers then followed up that good work by dismissing Downham for 181, with skipper John Habershon taking 5-47.

It's shaping up to be an exciting title battle, with Cromer 14 points clear at the top and then just four points separating Garboldisham in second and Downham in sixth.

David Turner followed up his six sixes in an over the previous week with an important 60 this time around as Cromer recorded an excellent 79 run win over morning leaders Garboldisham, who have played one more game than all their rivals.

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Turner's knock helped Cromer reach 207-9 and that proved more than enough as the home side were bowled out for 128, with Rob Purton taking 5-25.

Dean Robinson scored 122 and Jack Major took 5-15 as North Runcton moved up to third with a comprehensive 126 run win over Horsford B while Rob Thurley was the star for Old Buckenham as they went fourth.

His knock of 103 was the mainstay of the Bucks' total of 205-9, with opponents Acle then sliding to a fifth defeat on the trot as they were bowled out for 169.

In Division One Lowestoft produced an excellent battling performance to make it two wins on the bounce after losing their first five.

Chasing a Norwich A total of 186 (Chris Borrett 94) they looked destined for defeat after slipping to 131-8 and then 162-9 but, with the help of the tail, skipper Tom Brice guided them to a thrilling win with an unbeaten 78.

Another century from Ian Bryce was not enough as Hethersett and Tas Valley lost a tight match against Swaffham in Division Two.

The Valley opener, who recorded four tons for the club in May, added another to his collection on Saturday, with a 102 featuring 12 fours and six sixes helping the home side reach a competitive total of 235.

But unfortunately for Bryce Swaffham also had an in-form batsman in their ranks, with Alex Payne cracking an unbeaten 125 (15 four and sevens sixes) to steer the visitors home with just one wicket in hand.

Beccles bounced back from their first defeat of the season at Topcroft by seeing off Brooke A by 69 runs. The star of the show at Beef Meadow was undoubtedly Alex Wright who made 138 in 93 balls in a total of 277-9 and then wrapped up the Brooke tail with figures of 4-30.

Topcroft also won, and went top as a result, after beating Downham A by 62 runs as an in-form Harry Windridge scored 86 and James Prewer-Andrews took 4-32.

Saham Toney had an eye-catching win against bottom side Bradenham, winning by 10 wickets after bowling the opposition out for 187. An unbroken opening partnership was dominated by Ben Smart, who finished on 137, while Adie Wood made 50.

Great Melton beat Winterton by 19 runs to go marching on at the top of Division Three, while Martham kept the pressure on with a thumping 188-run win over North Runcton A.

Martham's total of 293-7 was built around an excellent innings of 123 from Jack Whatmough, with Alex Sayer and Lewis Dunn adding scores in the 60s to support him. Runcton could only reach 105 in reply, with Whatmough returning the eye-catching figures of 5-2-5-3 to blow away their top order.

Roy Bland scored an unbeaten 113 for Hockwold in Division Five but ended up on the losing side as opponents Norwich A chased down a total of 244-5 for the loss of six wickets (Alex Mhandu 94).

Leaders Snettisham were gifted the points when Bradenham A conceded their match while there was another walk-over in Division Six, with Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers A not making the long trip to Denver.

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