Happy days for Saxlingham Cricket Club after return to Norfolk Alliance
- Credit: Archant
It's great to be back! That's the verdict of Saxlingham skipper Alex Browne after seeing his side mark their return to the Norfolk Alliance with a couple of wins.
The village side have followed up their success in the top flight of the Norfolk League last season by taking 49 points from a possible 50 in their opening Division Six fixtures.
A 50 run win at Bradfield A on the opening day was followed by 95 run success on home soil against Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers A last weekend - and understandably there's a real buzz around the club as they prepare for a trip to Hales and Loddon on Saturday.
"It has been a really pleasing start, especially as we lost one or two players during the close season," said skipper Alex Browne, who top scored with 64 in the most recent win.
"I don't think the standard at the lower end of the Alliance is as high as the top of the Norfolk League, which is why one or two moved on, but we have obviously got to start at the bottom and try and work our way back up."
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When Saxlingham lost their Alliance status four years ago it had nothing to do with their performances on the pitch. They fell foul of league criteria regarding youth cricket - but those issues have long since been addressed.
"We now have a thriving under-11 team and there are 24 youngsters booked into our latest All Stars programme," said Browne. "It was a blow when we lost our Alliance status but looking back I don't think it did us any harm. We were able to regroup in the Norfolk League and I think the club is stronger than ever now."
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The ECB's new 100 ball format is being launched by the Mid-Norfolk Sunday League at the weekend with five trial matches taking place.
"This is an initiative to encourage clubs to attract new and returning players," said chairman Colin King. "It should only take about two hours, which is about the same amount of time that any football match takes. This is cricket with all the boring bits taken out. It's radical, it's quick and it's fun."
With the ECB still formalising the rules ahead of a professional launch next year the league have produced their own guidelines for Sunday's friendlies. They include the first 50 balls being delivered from one end and the second 50 from the other, players being allowed to bowl anything from one to 20 deliveries (and no more than 10 in one spell), batsman to retire after reaching 30 (with a return allowed if a team is all out) and no insistence on wearing whites.
Sunday's games are Caister v Acle (4.30pm), Beccles v Bungay, Narborough v Hockwold (1pm), Thornham v Snettisham (1.30pm), Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers v Topcroft (1pm).
Swardeston are on a roll as they prepare for their derby match with Great Witchingham at The Common.
Joe Gatting's side recorded an emphatic 72 run win over Bourne in the second round of Royal London Club Championship on Sunday to make it five straight wins in all competitions.
Gatting smashed an unbeaten 104 in only 71 balls after brothers Callum and Jordan Taylor had put on 86 for the first wicket to guide the hosts to 279-6 in their 40 overs. It was too much for the Lincolnshire side, who were all out for 207 (Alfie Cooper 3-29).
Swardeston go into Saturday's match just a point behind leaders Frinton, who have a tough game at leaders Sudbury.
There's another derby match, with Horsford welcoming Vauxhall Mallards to Manor Park.
Norfolk's Under-12s opened their season with an impressive six wicket win over their Lincolnshire counterparts at Spalding.
An excellent opening spell from Sam Reynolds and skipper Lewis Reeder put pressure on the hosts, with Reeder striking twice. Norfolk kept the pressure on, with Sam Kassulke and Freddie Holt both claiming a wicket as Lincolnshire finished on 90-4 from their 40 overs.
In reply Norfolk slipped to 2-2 with the loss of Kassulke and Peter Stone but a partnership of 64 between Thomas Robson and Reeder settled any nerves before Reeder was out for 29. Lawrence Williams departed for five before Jack Rowley and Robson (43 not out) saw the team home with 19.3 overs to spare.
Norfolk's over-60s teams started their season with mixed results.
At Market Deeping the firsts bowled and fielded well to restrict Lincolnshire to 148-9 off their 45 overs (Colin Jackson 4-20, Maurice Dye 3-20). Norfolk reached their target in the 32nd over for the loss of three wickets, Peter Coote leading the way with 79.
The seconds played Essex at Copford and batted well to make 197-2. Openers Mark English (38) and Geoff Roper put on 104 for the first wicket, with latter still there at the end on 116. However Essex reached their target for the loss of two wickets in the 36th over.