Thetford rise to tough challenge

Thetford shrugged off a poor start to the season in Norfolk Alliance Division Three as they gamely denied leaders Hethersett &Tas Valley a fourth consecutive win.

Thetford shrugged off a poor start to the season in Norfolk Alliance Division Three as they gamely denied leaders Hethersett &Tas Valley a fourth consecutive win.

Chasing 220 for victory, Thetford reached 200 for six to claim a 90pc losing draw.

Meanwhile, Thetford A visited their high-flying Hethersett counterparts in Division Six and returned with a creditable losing draw.

Thetford skipper Steve Conroy elected to field first but lost bowler Jason Peters to injury during the warm-up.

Tony Wenham (21) quickly proved adept at dispatching anything loose from Gavin Siriwardena through a fast outfield but David Anderson built up pressure at the other end. S Hayes succumbed first, bowled by a leg-stump full toss from Anderson. J Curtis rode his luck to join Wenham in pushing the score on.

Anderson removed Wenham (21), well caught down the leg side by Ryan Conroy, and Alan Palmer's second ball accounted for Curtis (16), smartly pouched by Matt Kerling.

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When Anderson bowled T Brandon-Street (0), Thetford were 57-4, but R Mitchell and S Last accumulated steadily and took advantage of dropped catches. Palmer, in particular, suffered but bowled tightly although it was Kerling (1-47) who made the breakthrough, removing Mitchell for 33.

The game was in the balance at 106-5, but Thetford leaked too many runs and the dropped catches told as Last and D Austin accelerated. Palmer finally had Last (37) caught at mid-wicket, but P Walmsley (36) replaced him and runs continued to flow.

Anderson dismissed him and Austin (34) to round off an excellent haul of 5-29. The Tas tail still clubbed a few more boundaries before Peters (2-33) claimed the last two wickets.

Thetford's target of 211 looked tough, even on a flat pitch, but wayward bowling from Curtis helped them start at five-an-over. In his fourth over, Curtis then drew an edge from Keith Greyson that was sharply taken by Brandon-Street at slip and Thetford were 28-1.

Thetford's challenge all but fell apart as Karl Harris edged behind, Simon Lewis was bowled and the in-form Andy Kerling hesitated and was run out. Siriwardena and Steve Conroy then faced a rebuilding job. They approached the task with stolid defence, restricting aggressive intent to wide and short balls. This approach proved successful as Austin, Brandon-Street and S Barker bowled fairly straight, but without penetration, and loose balls sped to the boundary across the fast outfield.

The partnership for the fifth wicket had reached 82 when Conroy was beaten by a good one from Curtis (2-46), but runs continued to flow with Ryan Conroy (14) until he was bowled by Barker (1-31).

Siriwardena was dismissed for 47, lbw to Walmsley (3-44). Palmer and Peters saw out the remaining overs for Thetford to finish on 172-7, frustrating their hosts' push for an outright victory.

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