Title race goes to wire
KEITH PEEL Great Witchingham are red-hot favourites as the Lovewell Blake Norfolk Cricket Alliance Premier Division championship race goes down to the wire. Dennis Rogers' team lead rivals Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers by 17 points after rain on Saturday forced the abandonment of their respective games against Topcroft and North Runcton.
Great Witchingham are red-hot favourites as the Lovewell Blake Norfolk Cricket Alliance Premier Division championship race goes down to the wire. Dennis Rogers' team lead rivals Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers by 17 points after rain on Saturday forced the abandonment of their respective games against Topcroft and North Runcton. Witchingham therefore need only nine points from their final fixture, against relegation battlers Beccles, to clinch the title and a chance to contest the play-offs for promotion to the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League.
Topcroft were 105 for one when a halt was called at Walcis Park, where Witchingham had posted 321 for five.
Shaun Arthurton scored 92 and Carl Rogers 138, taking his record-breaking Alliance run tally for the season to 1389.
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Paul Harwood hit 68 as North Runcton made 189 for nine at Barton Turf, where play was abandoned with Wanderers on 89 for three and Ali Ponder on 60 not out.
Cromer's 77-run defeat at Downham Market and Beccles' winning draw at Swardeston means that, going into the final round of fixtures, a mere five points separate the four teams battling to escape the relegation places.
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Swardeston complete their programme against Vauxhall Mallards at Brundall, while Cromer entertain Old Buckenham and Topcroft are at home to Wanderers.
Cromer's Chris Carey produced a stunning one-man show at Downham.
First he bagged five for 27 to help dismiss Downham for 141, of which Angus Stuart scored 43. Then he hit 41 as Cromer were skittled out for 64, with Adrian Todd taking five for 14.
Gavin Ewing hit 103 not out and took four for 27 for Beccles at Swardeston, who mustered 125 for nine in reply to 163 for six.
Old Buckenham had made 197 for eight, with Terry Perry scoring 84 and Ian Harrison 63, when rain brought an end to their game against Mallards.
Brooke will be stepping up from Division One after a seven-wicket win at Dersingham, who drop to third, 11 points behind Acle, their final fixture opponents.
Rob Porter hit 94 and took four for 19 as Acle beat Kirkley by six wickets.
Mattishall went top of Division Two with a nine-wicket win over North Runcton A.
They are a point ahead of Hunstanton, who won by 93 runs at Fakenham, and six in front of morning table leaders Saham Toney, whose game against Bradenham was rained off.
Dereham's promotion from Division Three was assured when their game against second-placed Sheringham was abandoned.
Having completed their programme, Sheringham are three points behind Dereham and 16 ahead of third-placed Horsford A, who visit Dereham for their final fixture.