Norfolk Cricket Alliance: Downham looking good after beating Old Buckenham
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Premier Division leaders Downham Town came away from third-placed Old Buckenham with a hard-fought victory to move 30 points clear at the top of the table.
The Bucks did well to make a game of it after being restricted to just 136-9 by some tight bowling from the visitors.
From there on in it was a struggle for Downham too but they eventually got home with three wickets to spare, with Adam Todd scoring 49 after earlier leading his side's bowling challenge with figures of 4-46.
The leaders received a further boost when news came through that closest rivals Fakenham had been held to a draw by lowly Sprowston.
In another keenly contested encounter the title-chasers made 198 (Keegan Monahan-Fairlie 66) and were then frustrated by a determined effort from the visitors, who finished on 153-9. In the end it was left to a last pair of Ryan Pearce and Matt Evans to see out the last six overs.
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While it was an excellent result for Sprowston the eight points they picked up were not enough to prevent them from returning to the foot of the table.
That's because Lowestoft Town recorded a fine 26-run win at North Runcton, making 227-9 (Nathan Garrod 62, Karl Storey 53) before bowling out the west Norfolk outfit for 201 (Tom Brice 4-58). The two sides are now locked together on 130 points, with Sprowston breathing down their necks on 125. Further up the table Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers and Cromer both improved their positions with emphatic eight-wicket victories.
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Wanderers cruised past Swardeston A's modest total of 152-9 (Dan Jackson 4-32) while Cromer were equally untroubled after dismissing Diss for 196 (Bilaal Samsoodien 65 not out, Tom Davies 64).
In Division One Stow remain 38 points clear at the top despite having to settle for a winning draw against Horsford A at Manor Park. The leaders shone with the bat at the home of Norfolk cricket, piling up 277-5, but the home side also found conditions to their liking and finished on 228-7 with Matthew Wilkinson making 112.
Second-placed Brooke had to settle for a draw after a tense encounter with Acle, finishing on 207-8 chasing a total of 212-7.
There was an impressive win for Garboldisham, who bowled Great Melton out for 164 after totalling 222, with Henry Phoenix making 110.
While Topcroft recorded a six-wicket triumph over bottom side Bradfield after restricting the north Norfolk team to 219-9.
Great Witchingham A won the match of the day in Division Two to move another step closer to promotion. The Witches are now 34 points clear at the top after recording a comfortable six-wicket success over closest rivals Dereham at Walcis Park.
Dereham managed to post a reasonably competitive total of 179-6, thanks largely to Jake Anema's 104, but that never looked enough as Witchingham got home with the minimum of fuss. Norwich A are now just four points behind Dereham in third position following an emphatic victory over Hethersett and Tas Valley. They finished on 156-2 (Tom Goodley 87 not out) after restricting their visitors to 155-9.
There appears to be no stopping Thetford in Division Three, with the leaders recording another straightforward win. They dismissed Narborough for just 145 and then cruised home for the loss of only three wickets, Alex Dennis top scoring with an unbeaten 64.
Vauxhall Mallards A are second after comfortably getting past Acle A's total of 183, with former Norfolk opener Carl Amos making 78, while the Old Buckenham A bowlers had a field day at Hardingham. On a day when batsmen generally held the upper hand across the county they dismissed the home side for just 81 (Carl Sturman 5-15) and went on to win by seven wickets.
Winterton showed no mercy to strugglers Hales and Loddon in Division Four. They notched up an impressive 286-6 before bowling their opponents out for 117.
In Division Five leaders Old Catton remain 63 points clear at the top despite being outplayed by Saxlingham. The visitors were in control from the moment they finished on 251-6 and Catton were grateful for a draw in the end as they finished on 169-9.
Dereham A were the big winners in Division Six, making 248-9 and then bowling Topcroft A out for 134.