Norfolk Alliance round-up: Downham Town seal title in style after claiming impressive derby win against North Runcton

Sam Arthurton works the ball away as he moves towards a half century for Great Witchingham against B

Sam Arthurton works the ball away as he moves towards a half century for Great Witchingham against Burwell. Picture: Tim Ferly - Credit: Archant

Downham Town recorded an emphatic derby win to seal the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division title on Saturday.

A trip to an in-form North Runcton side looked like a potential banana skin for the leaders, even though they only needed a handful of points from the fixture to ensure finishing top.

But they became champions in style as they romped home by 124 runs, making a solid 211-7 before bowling their hosts out for just 87 to maintain their impressive finish to the campaign.

The battle to avoid the drop will go to the final day after the three sides in the thick of it all recorded timely wins.

With Sprowston's fate having been sealed some time ago, Horsford A went into the penultimate round of fixtures in the second relegation place, with Garboldisham and Fakenham both looking anxiously over their shoulders.

Horsford did what they had to do, beating Acle by three wickets at Manor Park after bowling them out for 141 - but the news from elsewhere took some of the gloss off the victory.

Garboldisham made it two wins out of two by beating Old Buckenham by 16 runs in a low scoring game while a brilliant innings from Will Dunger helped Fakenham to their third straight win at last year's champions Brooke, who still aren't quite safe themselves. Dunger hit eight fours and six sixes in a hard-hitting 113 that helped the visitors post 252-8 and Steve Earl then took 4-33 and David Coyle 3-8 as Brooke finished 60 short.

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Horsford, who are at champions Downham on the final day, go into their final fixture on 212 points, with Garboldisham (218), Fakenham (231) and Brooke (231) occupying the next three positions.

In Division One Swardeston A all but secured promotion when they cruised past relegated Mattishall. The hosts won by nine wickets after skittling out the visitors for just 63, with Sam Thelwell and George Walker both taking three wickets.

With Dereham losing at Lowestoft by 21 runs and Diss not playing, Stow are now second after maintaining their superb run by brushing aside Bradfield. They knocked off the 184 required in 33 overs for the loss of just one wicket (Keith Thompson 83, Will Denny 79 not out).

The battle for promotion to Division One of the Norfolk Alliance will go to the final day of the season after Hethersett & Tas Valley recorded an impressive victory over second-placed Beccles.

The gap between the two sides was reduced to just three points as Valley successfully defended a modest total of 168 at Flordon, with the visitors being dismissed for only 107.

Jon Curtis was the star for the home side, hitting 75 to score almost half of their runs before returning the impressive figures of 3-23.

Beccles have a second chance to clinch promotion on Saturday when they host Downham A while Valley will be hoping for the best there while ensuring they win their final match at Great Witchingham A.

Topcroft all but sealed a swift return to the second flight when they won at Bradenham, a result which condemned their hosts to the drop. Greg Rostron's 61 not out helped them up to 207-6 and that proved to be more than enough as Bradenham were dismissed for 115.

Great Melton ensured they would be going up with Martham in Division Three by seeing off Old Buckenham A. The Bucks only lost two wickets after being put into bat but scored at well under four an over to reach just 159. That target was little problem for Melton, who passed it for the loss of four wickets.

With the promotion issues in Divisions Five and Six already decided the focus at a lower level was on Division Four, where the second promotion place is still up for grabs after second-placed Bircham lost at their nearest rivals Sheringham. The Lobsters restricted their visitors to 137-9 and edged home with three wickets in hand.

Sheringham remain eight points adrift in third and need to win their final match, while hoping Bircham lose their's, to go up.

Leaders Garbolisham A secured the points they required by seeing off Beccles A by six wickets after restricting them to 175-7 (Rory Olpin 5-61, Alex Cook 50).

The match between Mundford and Stow A was called off without a ball being bowled because of concerns over the state of the outfield.

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