Norfolk Alliance round-up: Fakenham teams have an opening day to forget

Action from Norwich second team playing Acle at Postwick. Acle congratulate their bowler, 2nd left,

Action from Norwich second team playing Acle at Postwick. Acle congratulate their bowler, 2nd left, Peter Nobbs, for bowling out Norwich batsman Alex Mhandu. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

It was a day to forget for Fakenham as the Norfolk Alliance programme got under way in earnest at the weekend, writes Chris Wise.

The Premier Division champions were dismissed for just 95 in their opening fixture at Old Buckenham as testing batting conditions took their toll. Robbie Austin bowled four maidens while taking two wickets for the hosts, with Andrew Lawrence, Aaron Seekings and Lewis Holden also claiming braces.

The visitors then made a game of it by making serious inroads into the Bucks' batting line-up, but the damage had already been done and they went down by four wickets.

If it was a bad day for Fakenham's first team it was even worse for the seconds who slumped to a humiliating home defeat against Great Witchingham seconds.

The hosts were rolled over for just 21, with the Witches then taking just 34 balls to complete a 10-wicket triumph. Fakenham had toiled for 22.3 overs for their paltry total as Matthew Burton (4-7), Cameron Black (3-5) and Jamie Perry-Warnes (2-5) had a field day.

Back in the top flight newly promoted Garboldisham got their campaign off to a pleasing start as they saw off multiple former champions Downham Town in a thrilling match. The game was in the balance after the villagers had made 204-8 (Kristian Willman 75) but it proved to be just about enough, with Downham losing their final wicket with a mere three runs needed for victory. Town's Nick Kelly was unlucky to be on the losing side after following figures of 5-37, which included a hat-trick, with 92.

Fellow new-boys North Runcton were unable to make it a double celebration despite setting what looked like a competitive target of 188 against Cromer. The visitors knuckled down to the task and lost just three wickets as they got home in the 49th over, thanks in no small part to an innings of 79 from David Turner.

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Diss (131) got the better of Brooke (95) in a low scoring encounter while in one of the few games of the day to be ruined by the weather Swardeston A were left stranded on 3-0 in pursuit of Sprowston's impressive 240 all out (Damon Egan 94).

The most emphatic win of the day in the top two divisions came at Mattishall, where visitors Topcroft had no problem chasing down 195. It looked like a reasonable target but the visitors lost just one batsman as they cruised home, with Greg Rostron and Ben Baldwin unbeaten on 58 and 72 respectively.

Newly promoted Thetford started with a win in a match that was completely dominated by the ball. When they were bowled out for just 95 it appeared opponents Dereham were on course for the bulk of the points but that wasn't the way it turned out, with the hosts crumbling to 69 all out in reply as Joseph Hills took 6-35.

The battle between last season's relegated sides saw Stow (178-4) beat Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers (174) by six wickets while Lowestoft (190-9) were too strong for visitors Horsford A (150).

The remaining Division One match failed to reach its conclusion, with Acle left on 94-4 in pursuit for Norwich seconds' 228-8.

Ryan opens season with a brilliant 240

Happisburgh batsman Ryan Sturgess ran riot as his side made a dream start to life in the Norfolk Alliance at the weekend.

The hard-hitting opener struck an incredible 240 as the hosts notched up the biggest score of the day by some distance before going on to win by a huge margin.

Last season's Norfolk League champions took the jump-up in standard in their stride as they scored at over seven runs an over to reach 354-5, almost 100 more than the day's next highest total.

That was always going to be too much for opponents Hales and Loddon, who were relegated last year, and they were skittled out for just 99 as Happisburgh started their campaign with a crushing 255-run success.

It was also a pleasing weekend for fellow Division Six new-boys Hockwold who marked their promotion from the West Norfolk League with a comfortable win. They also batted well to make 223-3 and matched Happisburgh's achievement in picking up maximum points when they bowled out Diss A for 151.

Bradfield have stolen a march on their rivals in Division Two after recording a second straight win.

Having started their campaign a week early with a victory, they did it again – and in emphatic style – against Bradenham.

After making 230 Bradield were never in trouble and ended up winning by 135 runs after dismissing their visitors for 95.

Hethersett and Tas Valley also impressed in this section as they made 254-6 in a 45-over game before going on to beat Swardeston B by 109 runs. Ian Bryce was the star of the show, making 106.

Newly promoted Winterton shone in their first Division Three match, cruising home with seven wickets to spare (Louie Stronah 80) after dismissing Acle A for 121.

Great Melton, who moved in the other direction last season, were equally ruthless, bowling out Mundford for 80 and finishing on 83-2 in reply.

Dersingham were quickest out of the traps in Division Four as they picked up the maximum 25 points against new-boys Martham, The west Norfolk side made 225-6 and had few problems seeing out the game, with the opposition being all out for 156.

Promoted Bircham made a winning start to life in Division Five, with Old Catton finishing 76 short in their run chase after their hosts had set up a testing target of 208-5.

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