Norfolk Alliance round-up: Premier Division new boys Brooke and Stow up and running
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Stow and Brooke ensured their wait to chalk up a Premier Division victory did not become a long-run thing.
The promoted duo lost on the opening day but got up and running thanks to victories over the current bottom two during the second round of Alliance fixtures.
Division One champions Stow squeezed home by a wicket against Swardeston A while the side they pipped to the title edged out Diss by 29 runs. Brooke's success owed much to a sensational display from Jon Habershon who took 7-28 to ensure the hosts' search for 130 was ended at a ton. The duo's first top-flight successes of 2015 leaves them in the middle of a pack who have recorded one win and loss from their first two matches.
Sprowston, Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers, Cromer and Downham are the other clubs who have tasted joy and misery early on. The latter, reigning champions no less, were humbled on their own turf on Saturday as Old Buckenham became one of only two clubs to enjoy a 100pc start.
Opener Terry Perry's 80 helped Bucks post 247-9 and unfortunately for the hosts Nick Kelly (4-52) was one of many who failed to do the business with the bat as Downham were ousted for 123.
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Early pacesetters Fakenham are four points ahead of Bucks after disposing of A&B by six wickets. Chad Bowers' 95 not out was ably supported by Luke Findlay's 66 as their club blasted the Prem's top score of 264-4 on the day. Their individual knocks were overshadowed however by John Ewart who struck 117 of his defeated team's 245 runs.
In Division One, Billy Brice was the headline-maker with the bat (103) as Lowestoft Town blew Beccles away with a healthy 255-6. The hosts could only muster 123 in reply. Joining Lowestoft on two wins from two were Acle, who made light work of a Dereham team that made just 92, and relegated North Runcton. Their key men were Andrew Spaxman (Acle, 7-41), Jack Major (Runcton, 4-35) and Anthony Dobing (Runcton, 56).
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Elsewhere, there were victories for Topcroft, they beat Garboldisham, and Horsford A. The latter saw off Great Witchingham A who failed to triumph despite a fine unbeaten 85 from Cameron Black.
Bowlers take six wickets for their sides
While Jon Habershon was busy taking seven top-flight wickets in a match, two lower-level counterparts were displaying their potency with the ball.
Division Two duo Simon Key and Mark Hunter claimed just one less scalp than the Brooke bowler as they did their own damage to a batting line at the weekend.
Key's 6-23 helped Norwich A beat their Fakenham counterparts by eight wickets while Saham Toney's Hunter (6-36) did enough to help see him men home against Great Melton, from whom Alex Rennie took 5-42.
Norwich and Hethersett Tas Valley, who beat Bradfield, lead the way but promoted Thetford are just two points behind after they built on a victory by securing a winning draw during a rain-affected clash with Old Buckenham A.
Thetford batted first and posted 218-6 with Neil Lockwood getting his hands on 81 of the runs before Bucks held on to finish with a 126-9 in a match that was reduced to 40 overs due to the weather.
Jasper Payne was at it again as Swaffham made it two wins from two in Division Three.
Last week his unbeaten 92 played a large part during his troops' seven-wicket win over Brooke A.
This time he made 60 not out, with Mark Eagle adding 58, during the early leaders' total of 175-3 as they enjoyed a same-sized triumph against Bungay.
Not to be outdone, Maurice Dye took 4-18 from his 12 overs to help Swaffham maintain their impressive start.
In Division Four Winterton sent out a statement of intent as they crushed Norwich B.
In their first match of the season, four players plundered half centuries (George Hudson 57, Louis Stronach 62, Wesley Noble-Parker 72 and Martin Witheridge 58).
Norwich thirds fell apart in search of 280 and were skittled for 61.
Best of the rest (division two to six)
Swardeston B: Ben Shearing 95, David King 4-47; Acle A: Rob Porter 54; Brooke A: Jonathan Wills 63no; Bungay: Chris Fuller 55; Downham A: Sam Sharp 54, Ashleigh Corbett 67no; Great Melton A: Damien Loines 84no; Hardingham: Jeff Turner 54; North Runcton A: Mark Bunting 58; Sprowston A: Jon Leverett 96no; Vauxhall Mallards A: Carl Amos 73, Luke Marchant 65; Mundford: Robin Yates 89, Kyle Croucamp 99; Sheringham: Chris Moy 5-27, Dexter Smith 72no; Hethersett & Tas Valley A: Mark Wyatt 50, Richard Ellis 64; Lowestoft A: Damien Abeyratna 5-18; Martham: Jack Whatmough 54, Ian Fairbrother 50, Alex Sayer 5-45; Mattishall A: Olly Hood 4-52; Bircham: Will Pillinger 68; Bradenham A: Steven Watts 4-19, Robbie Clarke 59; Dereham A: Tom Head 4-51; Horsford B: Michael Scarff 4-5; Topcroft A: Harry Van-Zanten 4-29