Thetford A lose out by whisker

THETFORD A came within a whisker of turning around their season by snatching an Alliance Division Six victory from table-topping Mattishall A on Saturday, but had to settle for a highly creditable losing draw.

THETFORD A came within a whisker of turning around their season by snatching an Alliance Division Six victory from table-topping Mattishall A on Saturday, but had to settle for a highly creditable losing draw.

With the side benefiting from better player availability than in previous weeks, Thetford were asked to field first by a confident Mattishall.

The pitch offered little to Thetford's openers, Shaun Bowden (0-29) and Matt Kerling (1-25), but they bowled tightly nevertheless, restricting Mattishall to less than three an over.

Thetford had failed to take a single Mattishall wicket in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, and it was not until Glen James tempted R Gostling (23) into a loose drive in the 15th over that a wicket fell in this game.


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M Gostling (27) then joined Ian Weetman and took the attack to Thetford, benefiting from a dropped skier at mid-off before Matt Kerling held on to one at long-off to give Pat Sparkes (2-51) the first of two wickets on his return to the side.

The promising Daniel Greyson then found some extra bounce to remove Weetman for 49 and bowled J Smith with a classic spinner's delivery to underline his continuing progress. By then, Mattishall were trying to up the scoring rate, led by K Bingham (28 not out), as the overs ran out, and a late flurry of runs took them to 204-7 from 46 overs.

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Thetford's reply began quickly thanks to some wayward bowling and, although Gavin Siriwardena was caught behind in the eighth over, Keith Greyson and Andy Kerling kept the scoring rate above that required.

After Greyson (34) top-edged Keith Hubbard to be caught behind at 76-2, however, the rate slowed and Thetford found themselves needing 65 from 10 overs.

Kerling and Pat Sparkes, having kept the scoreboard ticking over, then tried to push on, but Kerling (43) was run out by an excellent throw to the non-striker's end and Sparkes was bowled by an inswinger from M Fordham (3-60) the very next ball.

Thetford now seemed out of it, but Simon Lewis had come to the crease and he turned the game around with a brilliantly paced innings, aided by Karl Harris and then Nicky Shepherd. Thetford entered the final over hoping just to get to 90 percent of their target, but Lewis hit two towering sixes to give them a sniff of a victory that had seemed impossible mere minutes before.

Sadly, though, a third maximum proved too much to ask and Thetford finished an agonising three runs short.

Mattishall A got 14 points to Thetford A's total of 13.

This was an immensely encouraging result after four successive, heavy defeats and gives Thetford hope for the rest of a season that is shaping up to be a tough struggle to avoid relegation and future games against weaker opposition. Maintaining good player availability will be critical, however.

Mattishall A: I Weetman c K Greyson b D Greyson 49, R Gostling c Lewis b James 23, M Gostling c M Kerling b Sparkes 27, K Bingham not out 28, O Hubbard run out 27, J Smith b D Greyson 1, N Gostling c Harris b Kerling 12, M Fordham b Sparkes 7, J Grant not out 9; extras 21. Total (46 overs) 183-7. Bowling: S Bowden 8-2-29-0, M Kerling 12-5-25-1, G James 6-1-47-1, P Sparkes 11-1-51-2, D Greyson 9-0-34-2.

Thetford A: K Greyson c Bingham b K Hubbard 34, G Siriwardena c Bingham b Fordham 7, A Kerling run out 43, P Sparkes b Fordham 39, S Lewis not out 47, K Harris b Fordham 5, N Shepherd not out 4; extras 23. Total 202. Bowling: N Gostling 11-3-53-0, M Fordham 12-0-60-3, J Grant 7-1-25-0, K Hubbard 12-1-34-1, O Hubbard 4-1-21-0.

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