Norfolk Alliance round-up: Cromer back on top as leaders Old Buckenham are thrashed
- Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017
The match of the day in the top flight of the Norfolk Alliance was a surprisingly one-sided affair, with morning leaders Old Buckenham being brushed aside by title rivals Downham.
The Bucks were skittled out for just 99 in the 36th over, with Harrison Gregory leading the way with figures of 3-25 and Jack Gould, Peter Cairns and Joss Stuart each weighing in with a couple of wickets.
It was a completely different story when the hosts came out to bat, with openers Ian Harrison (58 not out) and Alex Stuart (31 not out) seeing their side home with the minimum of fuss.
A second successive defeat for Old Buckenham opened the way for second-placed Cromer to take over at the top and they duly took it by seeing off Fakenham by 60 runs.
After slipping to 41-3 the visitors were indebted to a fourth wicket stand of 168 between Richard Charlwood (87) and David Turner (81), who each hit six fours and three sixes in entertaining knocks that enabled their side to post a testing target of 254-6.
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Fakenham started in impressive fashion, with openers Keegan Monahan-Fairlie (53) and Lloyd Marshall (41) putting on 101 for the first wicket, but once they were parted the wickets started to tumble at regular intervals.
Kristian Regis was destroyer-in-chief with superb figures of 8-0-35-6 as Fakenham were bowled out for 194 in the 48th over.
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The win kept Cromer a point ahead of Downham at the top - while Fakenham dropped into the relegation places as a result of their defeat.
Horsford A moved out of the bottom two courtesy of a 53-run win over fellow strugglers Sprowston, who are now 43 points adrift of the safety mark.
Matt Spenceley led the way for Horsford with an unbeaten 71 in just 38 balls, while Matt Wilkinson (67 not out) and Nathan Perry-Warnes (64) also sparkled in a Horsford total of 241-3.
Tom Ollerton made 54 for Sprowston but they fell well short in reply.
Division One leaders Diss were given a decent test by relegation threatened Mattishall before edging home by three wickets while chasing 177-9. Second-placed Dereham beat Norwich A by 48 runs after making 225, with skipper Duncan Hewitt following up his 72 with figures of 4-53.
Topcroft opened up a 21-point lead at the top of Division Two as they saw off Saham Toney while neighbours Beccles were sliding to their fourth defeat of the season.
Simon Mower did his best to frustrate the leaders with an unbeaten 70 but a total of 171-7 wasn't enough as the side relegated from the second flight last season got home by six wickets.
Beccles restricted their hosts Swaffham to a similar total (173-7) but their batsmen were not up to the task and were dismissed for a disappointing 136. Jack Coggles took 4-26 while earlier the Payne brothers had again impressed, with Jasper making 78 and Alex 40.
Hethersett and Tas Valley moved to within three points of the promotion positions after a comfortable win over bottom side Bradenham. Robbie Matthews took 4-36 to help dismiss the opposition for 120 and the prolific Ian Bryce then made an unbeaten 71 as Valley cruised home for the loss of only three wickets.
It wasn't a good weekend for the Waveney Valley teams, with Bungay also suffering a blow to their promotion challenge in Division Three. They had a chance of moving into the top two when they played host to rivals Martham but it was the visitors who stretched their advantage courtesy of an emphatic win.
They bowled Bungay out for just 109 (Harish Chanchalani 4-22, Lewis Dunn 3-9) and then knocked off the runs required in less than 14 overs, with Finn Grist finishing unbeaten on 59.
Leaders Great Melton had an early finish against Sprowston A after bowling them out for 78 and then winning by nine wickets. Ben Carding caught the eye for Melton with figures of 4-14.
The only century of the day came in Division Four where Hardingham's Josh Downes made 110 in a total of 257-7 that was just a little too much for Hethersett and Tas Valley A, who finished on 235-9.
New boys Snettisham made it 11 wins on the trot in Division Five when they coasted home by 122 runs against Mattishall A after reaching 242-5. Hockwold are still chasing them hard, however, following an equally emphatic eight wicket win over Swardeston CEYMS which saw Roy Bland make an unbeaten 95.