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Nervous wait for Thetford A

PUBLISHED: 19:35 01 September 2010 | UPDATED: 10:04 16 September 2010

IT'S a nervous wait for Thetford Cricket Club's A-team to see if they will be relegated from the Alliance to the West Norfolk League.

Their draw in the final Division Six game against Topcroft A meant that Thetford finished only above Mundford A in the Division Six table and, as things stand, they are safe.

IT'S a nervous wait for Thetford Cricket Club's A-team to see if they will be relegated from the Alliance to the West Norfolk League.

Their draw in the final Division Six game against Topcroft A meant that Thetford finished only above Mundford A in the Division Six table and, as things stand, they are safe. But this could all change if a Norfolk side is relegated from the East Anglian Premier League at the top of the pyramid.

A disappointing season for Thetford could, therefore, still have a sting in its tail, and the club have a nervous wait for the conclusion of the EAPL in a few weeks' time.

Thetford A went into their final fixture of 2010 with fellow strugglers Topcroft A knowing that victory would secure their Alliance status for another year. However, they found themselves facing a strong Topcroft side that was seemingly far too good for its lowly league status.

Putting the visitors in on a damp wicket, Thetford's opening bowlers Matt Kerling and Gavin Siriwardena found little swing and less variable bounce than they had anticipated.

Nevertheless, Kerling (1-34) took an early scalp when Kevin Ridley drove to cover, to be caught well by Colin Tyms.

The scoring rate was then kept low until Siriwardena (1-41) removed O Dearling.

This brought county U15 player Tim Alexander to the crease to join Chris Taylor, however, and this pair proved immovable as they took advantage of wayward deliveries from some of the change bowlers.

Combined with the lack of penetration that has plagued Thetford all season, the too-frequent four-balls, notwithstanding some probing swing from Nathan Coleman, let Topcroft build an imposing total.

Both batsmen offered chances that Thetford fielders failed to take, but it took the introduction of Shaun Bowden (1-20), bowling with a shoulder injury, to induce Taylor to present Tyms with a second catch for a well-constructed 95.

Daniel Greyson (1-34) then produced the perfect spinner's delivery to take out S Payne's off stump first ball, but Topcroft's momentum remained as Alexander went on the attack, supported by Gus Woodcock.

Despite more shuffling of the Thetford bowling pack, the score continued to grow and further wickets proved elusive. Topcroft finished with a daunting 245-4, with Alexander unbeaten on 95.

With Thetford weakened by first-team call-ups, their target was never more than notional and the situation was made worse by the early loss of both Karl Harris and Nick Shepherd to the talented Alexander (2-22).

Shaun Bowden resisted well and Simon Lewis showed a well-judged combination of defence and attack to post 20, but both succumbed in quick succession to the accurate Topcroft attack and Thetford were on 43-4.

With all hope of victory now gone, Thetford were left with damage limitation and a rearguard action. Gavin Siriwardena dropped anchor, with support from Mark Fowler, concentrating on occupying the crease and despatching the too-rare loose balls. Gus Woodcock (3-15) accounted for Fowler and Colin Tyms with his inswing, however, and Thetford were facing a heavy defeat at 58-7.

Matt Kerling and Siriwardena had little to play for other than to restrict Topcroft's point-scoring opportunities, but they applied themselves to the task as successive Topcroft bowlers found more movement in the air and off the pitch than Thetford's had. As the overs went by, the chances of securing a losing draw grew.

Then, in the penultimate over, with Topcroft opting to try to buy wickets with O Dearling's gentle off-spin and Thetford aiming to get to 100 and a precious batting point, Kerling (21) holed out. Siriwardena (for a painstaking 19no) and Glen James saw out the remaining balls and saw Thetford to the 100-mark, avoiding a defeat but not Topcroft leapfrogging them in the league table.


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