Kerling hits career-best score

A LIFETIME highest score of 73 from Andy Kerling was not enough to prevent Thetford A slipping to a heavy defeat away to a youthful Vauxhall Mallards B side.

A LIFETIME highest score of 73 from Andy Kerling was not enough to prevent Thetford A slipping to a heavy defeat away to a youthful Vauxhall Mallards B side.

Having been put in to bat on a hot afternoon, Thetford started well before Karl Harris (15), playing some good, aggressive shots but also living dangerously, holed out to give Mallards a breakthrough with the score on 23.

This brought Kerling to the crease, and he and Keith Greyson made the most of a decent batting pitch and bowling that did not offer too many threats to push on at five-an-over.

Greyson (45) then skied a catch from off-spinner Tom Miller (1-40) and sparked a collapse in Thetford's middle-order. First, Kerling ran out Nicky Shepherd, then Ashley Rex hit Curtis Fulture (1-39) straight to short cover and Gavin Siriwardena was bowled off pad and forearm by Joe Stone. Mark Hudson (23) then joined Kerling and showed the progress he has made with bat, as the pair put on 57 for the seventh wicket.

Then, however, Kerling's fine knock, off only 66 balls, ended as he was caught off Stone (3-22). Thetford then had a reasonable score of 173-7, but needed to push on to post a competitive total on a benign surface.

Hudson, bowled by T McCarthy (2-29), and Steve Conroy perished trying to do just that and Thetford's tail found it hard to accelerate against accurate bowling. Thetford finished on 190-8, a total that would be challenging on most wickets and days, but which looked 30 or more runs light in this occasion.

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This proved to be true as the young left/right-hand opening partnership of E Brown and M Plater for Mallards made good lengths and lines difficult to find and punished any short balls. Although they survived a few mis-hits and played a missed occasionally, the openers were mostly untroubled and had moved the score on to 73 before Matt Kerling found enough swing to bowl Brown for 23. The 12-year-old Plater, joined by Joe Stone (19 not out), continued to score well and had made an excellent 57 when he mis-judged a drive to give Kerling (2-39) a second wicket, caught by Robbie Chamberlain at mid-off.

At this point, Mallards were still in the driving seat at 97-2, but a few cheap wickets would have put Thetford right back in the game. However, it was not to be as B Stone joined his brother and quickly put Thetford's limited attack to the sword.

They added the 94 needed for victory in just 13 overs, B Stone hitting a succession of sixes and fours in making a rapid 76 not out. Despite some late threats from the bowling of Chamberlain and Andy Kerling, Mallards suffered no further losses and completed an eight-wicket victory with 10 overs to spare.

Thetford can take positives from a reasonable batting display in this game, but the bowling attack can lack the teeth to bowl out good batting sides on flat wickets.

The coming weeks will bring some challenging games and the team will need its key players to be available consistently to build a run of good results.

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