Norfolk League round-up: Relegation-threatened Ketteringham Hall fail to build on a fine knock
- Credit: Archant
Batsman Rob Smith's fine knock of 92 still wasn't enough for basement boys Ketteringham Hall to pick up a Division One victory.
John Walton also scored 65 but their side could only post 196-7 as they picked up just seven points from their match against Horsford B. The hosts, third, and hot on the heels of second-placed Belton, added 23 to their total thanks in large to Sam Lincoln's 55. The B-team scored 198-6 and now sit 15 points behind the team they are chasing with three games to go.
With Martham miles out in front, Belton increased their chances of bagging a runners-up finish by skittling Cringleford Lodge for 91. Cameron Nichols was the chief destroyer as he helped himself to a tidy return of 5-19.
In Division Two, an unbeaten 74 from Liam Hughes enabled Great Melton B to overhaul Caister's 167-7 (Shaun Goodby 45 not out, M.Church 35). Hughes' third-wicket partnership of 76 with Jon Moxon (43) enabled Melton to recover after losing openers Clarke and Chris Elliott in the first two overs.
Steve Phoenix (24no) finished the match with a six as Melton won with two overs to spare. Earlier, Gary Coulson (12-1-37-1), Nav Sharma (11-0-40-3), Neil Clarke (7-0-26-1), Ben Carding (6-1-12-1) and Sam Carding (4-0-16-1), helped by some good fielding, ensured Caister's batsmen were made to work hard for their runs. The win lifted Melton out of the bottom three.
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Rackheath's Ajesh Jose was in sparkling form as his troops embarrassed whipping boys Hales & Loddon A. Jose scored a beautiful 115 – a total alone which was 87 more than his opponents' whole line-up could muster. In Division Four the star performers were Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers B's Oli Everett (7-26) and North Elmham's Richie Foster (85).
Gillingham look destined to move up to the mid-tier set-up next year after they won again at the weekend. The league leaders' nine-wicket success against Lowestoft B has left them with the formality of collecting just two points from their remaining three fixtures to secure the title.
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Hethersett & Tas Valley B are fighting Frettenham for the prized runners-up slot. Their cause wasn't helped when the third-string side, who are desperately trying to cling on to second place, lost to their nearest challengers. A succession of defeats has seen them drop down to second place where they are now just 12 points ahead of Frettenham, third, who they lost to on Saturday. Frettenham hit 196-5 and Hethersett replied with 157 (Ian Harrison 43, Ross Jones 27, Joe Brett 21 no).
Valley fourths (Division Eight) were bowled out for 53 against Great Witchingham who then took just 50 balls to reach their target for the loss of one wicket.
Stefan Clifford was the headline-grabber in the bottom flight thanks to a fine knock of 113 for Southwold.
'Salle continue their scintillating charge up the game's pyramid'
Reepham & Salle sealed the Division Four title in the least convincing manner possible with an edgy, but enthralling, two-wicket win.
Colney won the toss and chose to bat first on a slow surface under blue skies. Inspired by Tim Nutting's performance of 'Clocks' on the dressing room piano, Lester opened the bowling and found his usual metronomic, probing line, inducing an edge behind from his fifth ball without score.
At the other end, Reepham were hoping for early strikes, but not in the way that occurred next as a misbehaving ball caught keeper Coleman in the eye and sent him Norwich A&E bound. Lester avenged Coleman's injury with a typically probing nine-over spell (5-13) where he ripped through half of Colney's upper and middle order.
Obeney (1-9) and Wright (2-0) joined the fun as Colney were torn asunder at 32-8, before recovering slightly to 71 all out, despite a fiery spell from Jay Keenan.
News from the hospital was that Coleman was doing ok, and Reepham obviously relaxed starting their reply. Aided by Colney's tight bowling, especially by I. Smith and R. Wintle, and great athleticism from the former, Reepham's experimental batting order conspired to lose six early wickets in the first 12 overs with the score on a mere 24.
Stuart Forton's experience took Salle nearer, but contributed to Wright being run out backing up off a firmly hit straight drive to leave Reepham reeling with effectively 2 wickets left, as Coleman could not bat, and was in the wrong part of Norfolk.
Forton was then brilliantly caught at midwicket the leave Reepham's last pair with seven runs required. Lester inside edged a four between his legs to reduce the target to two, before Tipple calmly steered the winning runs through the covers to seal Reepham the title.
Salle have now achieved promotion for the fifth consecutive year, and lead the table by 80 points with three games left to play. North Elmham sit in second, just nine ahead of Swanton Morley.