Norfolk Alliance round-up: Downham lead the way as title race heads for exciting climax

Cricket action between Bungay (batting) and Swardeston B.
Swardeston bowler Blake Bowden.

Cricket action between Bungay (batting) and Swardeston B. Swardeston bowler Blake Bowden. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

With just four rounds of matches to be played the race for the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division title appears to be heading towards an exciting conclusion.

Leaders Downham Town won again at the weekend to keep their noses in front, but they remain just 16 points clear after closest rivals Cromer came through a testing encounter.

Addam Todd weighed with the impressive figures of 4-22 as Town bowled out Garboldisham for 166. Ian Harrison (55) and Patrick Yates (69 not out) then led the way as the home side got home in the 32nd over to maintain their position of strength.

It was a good deal closer at the Norton Warnes Ground, where Old Buckenham posted a solid total of 226-8 in a 45 over match, thanks largely to Rob Thurley's unbeaten 92 and support knocks in the 40s from Glen Meredith and Andrew Lawrence.

Cromer had just seven deliveries to spare when they finally got home with eight down, the platform having been set by an opening partnership of 55 between Frankie Sutton (31) and top scorer Matthew Warnes (38).

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North Runcton remain in with an outside title chance 40 points behind the leaders following an eight wicket win over a Sprowston side who appear doomed to the drop.

Chasing 130-7 in 35 overs was no problem for the hosts, with Norfolk player Ben Coote following his 2-11 off seven overs with 60 off 39 balls.

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Fakenham remain deep in relegation trouble following a 46-run home defeat at the hands of Acle, who made 201 and then bowled their hosts out for 155.

For the second week running Division One leaders Diss saw a match against one of their promotion rivals ruined by the rain.

They had reached 98-1 in 15 overs chasing Swardeston A's 212-9 (Alfie Cooper 61) when the weather closed in.

The same fate befell third placed Dereham, although it was an even more frustrating draw for them.

They were left stranded on 200-6 chasing Bradfield's 228-9, with nine overs to play with.

Stow are now just 12 points off the promotion positions after managing to get a full game in, cruising home by 10 wickets after bowling Lowestoft out for 97 (Pete Brassett 5-19, Otto Esse 4-12).

All-rounder Paul Lough had a day to remember as Bircham stayed on course for promotion from Division Four,

After top scoring with 50 to help his side reach 228-7 Lough then produced amazing figures of 7.2-5-6-6 as Valley were dismissed for 118,

Up in Division Two Bradenham gave their battle against the drop a tremendous boost when they came away from Swaffham with an emphatic 66 run success. Having been restricted to 148-9 they skittled out their hosts for just 82, with Alex Bates taking 4-16. Matthew Brockman-Smith was unlucky to be on the losing side, having earlier claimed 5-14.

Ian Todd (71 not out) and David Todd (7-29) were the stars for leaders Topcroft, who remain 26 points clear after making 187-6 and then bowling Brooke A out for 102.

Beccles remain hot on their heels after beating Saham Toney in a 35-over fixture. Their total of 239-4 (Rob Porter 77, Alex Wright 50) proved enough, with hosts finishing on 201-5.

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