Lewis hits century as Thetford A beat leaders Old Catton
Thetford A secured a hugely impressive home victory against early Alliance Division Six front runners Old Catton thanks to a brilliant 122 not out from Simon Lewis.
Catton won the Norfolk League in 2011 and are favourites to gain promotion at the first attempt. But Thetford have now replaced them at the top of the league.
Winning the toss, Thetford opted to bat in hot sunshine, on a Mundford Road pitch that is playing better than it has for many years. But the decision looked to have backfired as Pete Terry fell first ball.
Keith Greyson (27) started strongly, however, and took the attack to Catton together with Mick Piggott (17). This pair established a good scoring rate but both perished before building significant innings to leave the score at 49-3.
Pat Sparkes and Simon Lewis then continued to push on, but Sparkes’ wicket started a mini-collapse from 108-3 to 115-6, a long way short of a challenging total.
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Lewis, however, after starting a bit scratchily, was now finding his range and making short work of anything too short, too wide or too full from the Catton attack, who started to lose a little discipline after having bowled well to take the first six Thetford wickets.
With able support from Mick Leverton (14) and then Matt Kerling (11 not out), Lewis took full toll of the tiring bowlers, including several massive sixes hit out of the ground (and one lost ball).
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This took Thetford past 200 and maximum batting points and onto 236-7, their best batting performance for some years.
Catton clearly have a strong batting line-up and they started their chase well. Glen James and Gavin Siriwardena kept the score down, but without breaking through.
It took the introduction of Daniel Greyson (2-54) to beat S Ames (13) with a perfect turning ball, before Siriwardena (1-40) removed the dangerous P Daynes (35) and Matt Kerling’s swing tied R Smith (18) up in knots.
Catton were under pressure at 76-4 and then 96-5, after a sharp stumping by Pete Terry off Kerling (3-36). R Loone, however, started to attack, supported by A Harris (15) and D Anderton (20), as the heat took its toll on the Thetford attack and a few loose overs put Catton right back into the game.
The final twist in the game came when Loone (83) holed out to a fine catch on the boundary by Matt Kerling.
The remaining Catton batsmen tried to hold on for a losing draw, but Glen James and Mick Piggott (2-5) created too much pressure and Piggott wrapped up the innings with calm efficiency to give Thetford a 21-run victory few would have predicted at the start of play.