Norwich and Sprowston taken to the wire
Norfolk Alliance trail-blazers Norwich and Sprowston both emerged victorious from nail-biting thrillers. Norwich won by two runs against third-placed Downham while Sprowston got home by one wicket at Cromer.
Oliver Higenbottam (30), Aaron Watson (49), Dominic Matarazzo (49), Jason Blake (47 not out) and Rob Setchell (38) all scored well as Norwich made 267-7 from their 50 overs before getting a spate of early Downham wickets.
But Paul Harwood (77) and Brenton Wright (92) launched a counter-attack for Downham which ended when Rob King was bowled by Aaron Watson from the penultimate ball with two needed for a tie. Watson took 4-34 and Dominic Matarazzo 5-53.
Sprowston were cruising towards victory at Cromer on 147-5 in pursuit of 152 to win following a half century from Iain Murrell. But the departure of skipper Simon Chipperfield was followed by a hat-trick from Malcolm Cloete (5-35) left them reeling on 147-9 before Andy Hanby and Sam Hales steered them over the line. Will Hampson took 5-38 in Cromer's innings.
The 22-points were still not quite enough to stop Norwich taking over at the top of the table.
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Australian Marcus Glenister thrashed 135 not out from 133 balls, helped by 62 from James Heaney, as Old Buckenham posted 273-4 off their 50 overs against Fakenham – despite Shaun Cooper conceding only 13 runs from his 13 overs. But the hosts hung on for a losing draw on 190-5.
Carl Amos made 74 as Vauxhall Mallards A (239-7) had a winning draw at North Runcton (263), whose Ben Coote made 51. Mallards' Lewis Rayner took 5-60.
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Darren Ward (4-17) and Josh Ring (4-11) bowled Stow to a six wickets win over Ashmanhaugh & Barton, who were all out for 77. Tom Williams (4-26) took all four Stow wickets.
In Division One Brooke's Rob Panter smashed 160 off 130 balls, with 27 fours and four sixes, in a total of 309-5 against Dereham, who hung on for a losing draw on 222-9 thanks to Neil Irons' 61. The elusive extra wicket would have taken them above leaders Swardeston A, who themselves hung on at 125-7 for a losing draw at Beccles, whose Ian Ruddock made an unbeaten 57 out of 153-9.
Geoff Handley's unbeaten 73 off 62 balls swept Acle to a ten-wickets home win over Bradfield after James Foreman's 5-42 had helped dismiss the visitors for 91.
Nathan Gostling's 5-48 helped Mattishall to a six-wicket win over Horsford – whose Rhys Purnell made 60 – which took them up to third. Gordon Chetwood (54) and Jason Cole (64 not out) were the mainstays for the winners.
Garboldisham are the new leaders in Division Two after winning by nine-wickets at Fakenham A while previous table-toppers Great Melton were having to settle for a draw at Saham Toney.
Kristian Williams (90no) and Henry Phoenix (80no) swept Garboldisham to victory after Fakenham A (Harrison Futter 57) had finished on 186-9.
Hethersett & Tas Valley are second after Damian Fahey's 118 and Tim Shelley's 78 took them to 265-6 before Julian Emeney (4-34) and Devin Bellchamber (4-46) bowled out Bradenham for 145.
David Micklethwaite (56no) and Kevin Cooper (46no) steered Swardeston B to a six wickets win over Saxlingham with an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 96. David Adams (82) and David Lacey (71) top-scored in Saxlingham's 241-6.
In Division Three Troy Allen (75no) and Rob Gurney (63no) saw leaders Great Witchingham A to an eight-wickets win over Old Buckenham A, whose Jon Fudge made 63. Thetford kept the pressure on as Liam Conroy took 5-36 in a four-wickets win over Acle.
In Division Four Mick Broad scored 120 and Chris Hill 56 as Narborough chased down a target of 251 to beat Hethersett & TV A by seven wickets, despite the efforts of Robert Mitchell (66) and Mark Wyatt (73).
Leaders Hardingham suffered their first defeat of the season when Winterton restricted them to 204-5 – Robbie Fowle 70, Jeff Turner 52no – and got there with five wickets in hand thanks to Ben Utting (51no) and Lewis Chapman (61no).
Nick Dingle's 7-55 couldn't quite take Aldborough to a Division Five win over Mattishall A, who hung on at 218-9. Top two Brooke A and Norwich drew, allowing Rocklands to close the gap with a 124-run thrashing of Swardeston/CEYMS – Steven Halls hitting an unbeaten 93.
George Milton scored an unbeaten 112 in Division Six as Beccles A beat Saxlingham A by 96 runs to push Old Catton – who lost their unbeaten record at Bradenham – off the top.