Norfolk League round-up: Runners-up Belton show their title credentials on opening day

Beetley face the camera ahead of their season opener. Picture: SUBMITTED

Beetley face the camera ahead of their season opener. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

Belton got their Norfolk League title push off to the best possible start by beating Rollesby.

Chris Crane top scoring for North Elmham with a patient 29. Picture: MIKE WYATT

Chris Crane top scoring for North Elmham with a patient 29. Picture: MIKE WYATT - Credit: Archant

The 2014 runners-up are among the favourites to lift the crown now champions Martham are plying their trade in Norfolk Alliance Division Five. And they showed those predictions look justified by becoming the only top-flight side on the opening day to pick up the maximum 26 points that were on offer.

Chris Cropley scored 51 as Belton – technically the visitors although they hosted Saturday's fixture – posted 222-8, despite the best efforts of Chris Alger (3-4). Rollesby recovered from 20-6 – aided by Ben Youngs' knock of 85 – in their reply to eventually post 181 all out. Sajid Ali took four wickets for 39 runs on a day where he also registered 59 with the bat.

Caister, who won at Kirkley & Lowestoft Railway, and Happisburgh, home victors over Cringleford Lodge, are just a point off the pace following encouraging starts of their own. Paul Brown's unbeaten ton – coupled with Richard Stokes' 63 – set the tone for Caister's hefty 205 for the loss of just one wicket. Happisburgh were slightly less destructive with the bat yet still wrapped things up by virtue of 181-6. Lodge were dismissed for 177.

Felthorpe and Blundeston sit on 24 while East Harling (six) and Great Yarmouth (seven) will be looking to claim a first triumph in the weekend's second round of fixtures.

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In Division Two, Saxlingham made light work of Costessey while there were also successes for Drayton, for whom Andy Hawes hit 63 and Tim Wood an unbeaten 67, Great Melton B, Eaton and Garboldisham B.

There was a low-scoring affair in Division Three East with Overstrand edging Bungay A by four wickets. The hosts were in a decent position at 47-2 before a bowling change set about a stunning collapse. Dave Yarham took four quick wickets to leave 'Strand chasing 63. They soon found themselves in a spot of bother at 13-4 but Tim Porter's 14 not out steadied the ship somewhat. His team passed their target in the 23rd over.

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In the same level's Western set-up, Ross Jones' impressive 128 was not enough to help Hethersett & Tas Valley B defeat Swanton Morley. The latter's 242-8 saw them across the line in the penultimate over.

It was a mixed start for North Elmham. Their first teambowled Reepham & Salle for what they thought was a below-part 129, but could only hit 81 in reply. Chris Crane top-scored with 29.

Elmham's A team did ensure bragging rights were shared though by beating Reepham A in a Division Five West fixture.

Elsewhere, Beetley began the defence of their Division Eight crown with victory over Hingham A in the restructured 5W.

Des Curry, continuing where he left off last season, claimed 4-16 and skipper Michael Calvert 2-20 as Hingham subsided to 95.

Nick Calvert (29no) and Keith Daykin (10no) led Beetley home in the 24th over for a convincing seven-wicket win which leaves them locked on 25 points with Elmham A, one adrift of Thornham.

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