Norfolk Alliance round-up: Downham Town take over at top as morning leaders Cromer are beaten
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Downham Town moved 16 points clear at the top as a tight battle for the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division title took another twist on Saturday.
The lead has been changing hands on an almost weekly basis this season, and it happened again as morning front-runners Cromer slipped to their fourth defeat of the campaign at an in-form Horsford A side.
That gave closest challengers Downham the opportunity to move clear and they took it with both hands by coming through a big test at Acle in the final over of an absorbing contest.
Skipper Josh Rowe scored an unbeaten 57 and opener Geoff Handley 58 in a competitive total of 230-7 that pushed Town to the limit. But they eventually edged home for the loss of six wickets, with Duncan Lanchester and Joss Stuart seeing them over the line after Addam Todd (53) and Harrison Gregory (51) had provided the platform.
Cromer were beaten by 52 runs at Manor Park by a side who are now 17 points above the drop zone, having looked like favourites for relegation at the beginning of the month.
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Matthew Wilkinson made 73 and Callum Melcalf an unbeaten 61 in a impressive 50-over total of 258-5 and it was too much for the visitors, who were dismissed for 206, after being 171-4 at one stage. Skipper Matthew Warnes was their top scorer with 78 while Kieron Peters took 4-29 for Horsford.
Defending champions Brooke got their season back on track with a timely five wicket win at Sprowston, who are beginning to look doomed.
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Man-of-the-match was Dan Vihm who followed bowling figures of 2-21 in 10 overs with an innings of 40 as Brooke restricted their hosts to 176-8 before getting out in the 41st over. Matt Collinge saw the visitors over the line with an unbeaten 52.
The top-of-the-table showdown in Division One was ruined by the weather, with leaders Diss and second-placed Dereham having to settle for seven and 10 points respectively.
The game was fascinatingly poised, with hosts Dereham on 35-3 from 14 overs chasing a visiting total of 140, when the rain arrived. Swardeston A moved above Diss into second place by virtue of a six wicket home win over Norwich A.
Martham took a giant step towards promotion to Division Two on Saturday when they cruised past closest challengers Great Melton by eight wickets.
Melton's total of 157-9 proved inadequate as Martham got home with over 11 overs to spare.
Jack Whatmough led the charge with an unbeaten 67 while Harry Chanchalani took 4-33 to help restrict the hosts.
Martham now have a 30-point lead over the early pacesetters, who dropped down to third place as Bungay got back to winning ways with a 91-run win over North Runcton A.
Leaders Topcroft beat third-placed Hethersett and Tas Valley by six wickets in the match of the day in Division Two to boost their bid for an immediate return to the second flight.
Beccles consolidated second position when they won by eight wickets after restricting visitors Great Witchingham A to 142-8.
There was an eye-catching bowling display in Division Four as Sheringham bowled out visitors Hardingham for just 98 to move joint third. James Moy was the star of the show as the Lobsters successfully defended a solid 195-6, returning the remarkable figures of 9-7-2-5.
The top of the table match in this section between Garbolidsham A and Bircham was cut short by rain, leaving the former still 28 points clear at the top.
In Division Five West Norfolk pair Snettisham and Hockwold continue to look like shoo-ins for promotion, Snettisham maintained their perfect record by seeing off Old Catton by six wickets after dismissing them for 118 (Keiran Herbert 5-17) while Hockwold bowled Lowestoft A out for just 38 in response to an impressive total of 248-7. Roy Bland (88) and Matt Allsop (6-27) were their star performers, while Sam Ballard hit five fours in an innings of 25 that prevented an even bigger humiliation for the visitors. With Denver not playing, Horsford B went 23 points clear at the top of Division Six by chasing down Topcroft A's 240-5 for the loss of four wickets.
The Bradley Cup Final between Bradenham and Dereham takes place on Wednesday at Bradenham (6pm).