Norfolk Cricket Alliance: Honours even in thriller
Premier Division rivals Fakenham and Norwich had to settle for an equal score draw after an afternoon of high drama at Highfield Lawn.
Having restricted Norwich to 169 for seven the hosts went into the final over of their reply needing eight to win, with the seventh wicket pairing of Sean Cooper and Paul Dunger at the crease. With Chris Borrett giving nothing away the duo scrambled five runs off the first five balls, meaning Dunger needed to score three off the final delivery to guide Fakenham to victory.
He could only manage two, so his side finished on 169 for six – and honours were shared in a match that neither side really deserved to lose.
Borrett had earlier led the way for Norwich with an impressive 67 while former Norwich City star Chris Sutton weighed in with a useful unbeaten 33 late in the innings. Fakenham's top scorer by some distance was opener Keegan Monahan-Fairlie whose 93 off 165 balls included eight fours and a six.
Sprowston took full advantage of Norwich's dropped points to take over at the top after beating Old Buckenham by 61 runs in a low-scoring encounter. Sprowston eventually scrambled to 130-8, after being 56 for six at one stage, thanks to a partnership of 60 for the seventh wicket between Tim Hales (35) and Sam Hales (31). Andy Lawrence (four for 24) and Jon Lee (three for 22) were the pick of the Buckenham bowlers.
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In reply the hosts were bowled out for just 69 with Andy Hanby taking four for 12. Sprowston now lead the way by two points while Downham are eight behind Norwich in third following a four wicket win over Vauxhall Mallards A.
Paul Harwood took five for 17 as Mallards were dismissed for 143 and Addam Todd (43) and Ashley Corbett (48 not out) then steered their side to victory.
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Brooke A continue to set the pace in Division One, dismissing Topcroft for 161 after making 210 for eight. Second placed Swardeston A were dismissed for 133 by Bradfield – but then bowled out the visitors for just 49.
Former Norwich City footballer Craig Fleming proved himself to be a real sporting all-rounder as Saxlingham inflicted a first defeat of the season on Division Two leaders Great Melton.
Fleming returned the excellent figures of four for 25 to help reduce Melton to 150 all out and ended up on the winning side as Saxlingham overhauled their modest target for the loss of just four wickets. Melton now share top spot with near neighbours Hethersett and Tas Valley who brushed aside Saham Toney to maintain their bright start to the season. Hethersett were dismissed for 174 and with Peter Walmsley taking five for 22 they dismissed their opponents for just 93. With Garboldisham edging to a one-wicket victory over Norwich A just one point separates the top three teams and Saxlingham are also well placed, just seven points off top spot with a game in hand on the teams above them.
Thetford turned in a powerful all-round display to retain top spot in Division Three. Neil Lockwood (74) and Liam Conroy (62) were the main contributors in a excellent total of 235 for five and North Runcton A never threatened an upset as they were dismissed for 81. Second placed Bungay also picked up a 25-point haul, Tom York making an unbeaten 94 in their total of 235 for four against Sprowston A, who were all out for 97 (Mark Elden five for 21).
A revitalised Sheringham side moved top of Division Four after beating morning leaders Stow A by six wickets.