Satisfying finale for Thetford A
Thetford A finished their debut season in Norfolk Alliance Division Six with a comfortable home victory over local rivals Mundford A. The match was also a battle to avoid the wooden spoon in the league, although both teams should be safe from relegation back to the West Norfolk League because of withdrawals from higher up in the Alliance structure this year.
Thetford A finished their debut season in Norfolk Alliance Division Six with a comfortable home victory over local rivals Mundford A.
The match was also a battle to avoid the wooden spoon in the league, although both teams should be safe from relegation back to the West Norfolk League because of withdrawals from higher up in the Alliance structure this year.
In stark contrast to the high-scoring reverse fixture two weeks ago that yielded over 500 runs, a drying pitch offered assistance to the bowlers and saw less than 200 accumulated over the two innings.
Winning the toss and putting Mundford in, Thetford immediately restricted openers John Amphlett and Cameron McIsaac with accurate bowling from Jason Peters and Robbie Chamberlain. McIsaac soon flashed outside off and was caught behind off Chamberlain. Mundford continued to find it difficult to time the ball and the bowler's accurate bowling continued to threaten, so more wickets fell, Peters taking two and Chamberlain a further three to leave Mundford six down for less than 50.
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The pick of the wickets saw Simon Lewis take the catch the season at extra cover off Peters, despite a finger injury, as he swooped to pluck a full-blooded drive from inches off the ground, and Chamberlain produce a perfect combination of swing and seam to hit the top of Ian Harrison's off stump before the batsman had scored. Kieron Long and Owen Chandler revived the Mundford innings, reaping the benefit of some wayward deliveries from Gavin Siriwardena before Long was unfortunate to play on.
Chandler (32) was then even more unfortunate to be run out in the same over following more outstanding work in the field from Lewis.
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Meanwhile, further pressure had been put on the scoring rate by excellent bowling from youngsters Johnny Conroy and Daniel Greyson, although it was Siriwardena and a returning Chamberlain who wrapped up the innings, the latter finishing with a deserved 5-16 from his best bowling performance of the season.
Mundford's total of 96 failed to win them a single batting point and should have presented no problems for Thetford's batting, but Keith Greyson lasted for only two balls before edging Robin Mail to first slip.
Ryan Conroy was then trapped lbw as Scott Palmer, who had initially struggled with his direction, started to find some in-swing and Karl Harris, trying to take the attack to the bowlers, mistimed one too many and skied to mid-on.
Thetford were wobbling on 30-odd for three but had in-form batting to come and captain Steve Conroy joined Andy Kerling to steady the ship.
This pair avoided unnecessary risks and accumulated steadily to put Thetford firmly into a winning position. Conroy may have been fortunate to survive an appeal for a catch behind, but Kerling stood firm until he danced down the wicket in an attempt to win the game with a six and edged to the wicketkeeper.
It was left to Conroy and batsman-of-the-season Lewis to knock off the final few runs and an edged Conroy boundary when the scores were level gave Thetford victory and a fortuitous extra batting point.
So Thetford ended the season on a high, and with safety in the Alliance assured. With Mundford also probably safe, both sides can look forward to renewing their rivalry for a third successive season next year.
Thetford's tally of just three victories in the season was not satisfactory, however, and they must look to add strength in depth on the playing side to accompany the progress that the club is making off the field before the 2010 season begins.
Thetford A won by six wickets. Thetford A 21 points, Mundford A two points.