Beccles win final game to seal promotion to Norfolk Alliance Division One

Long-serving Steve Goldsmith receives a guard of honour from his Vauxhall Mallards team-mates after

Long-serving Steve Goldsmith receives a guard of honour from his Vauxhall Mallards team-mates after coming out to bat for the club the final time at Halvergate on Saturday in the Norfolk Alliance match against Stow. Turn inside for a report. Picture: Alan Tinkler - Credit: Archant

Beccles Town sealed promotion back to Norfolk Alliance Division One with a convincing six wicket win over Downham Town A.

They knew that 23 points would be enough to see them secure the second position needed to go up - and that’s exactly how many they picked up.

But as it turned out Beccles went up with something to spare as promotion rivals Hethersett and Tas Valley lost their final game at Great Witchingham A.

The home side were forced into a change, with Sam Puxley replacing wicket keeper Ben Wilgoss who had returned to Abu Dhabi early due to a visa complication. Town captain David George lost the toss and was asked to field on yet another scorching day at Beef Meadow.

Openers Alex Wright (8-33-2) and Ian Norman (7-10-1) set about their business bowling tight lines, with scoring opportunities coming at a premium. The 10 Downham players who had made the long trip put up little resistance as wickets fell at regular intervals, with Norman making the first breakthrough.

Wickets were shared around the five bowlers, with Ian Ruddock being the pick (7-8-3).

Downham set Beccles 80 runs to win and the home side knew that if they could chase the small total for five wickets or less then the job would be done.

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Michael Fisher returned to his opening spot partnering George Milton. The pair batted patiently, with Milton in particular punishing any loose deliveries that came his way. As is normally the case with Beccles it wasn’t going to be plain sailing and Fisher was caught for a scratchy 18 with the score on 41.

Milton, Wright and George all departed as well, leaving it to Rob Porter and Ben Milburn to steer the ship home.

John Allen took 4-18 as Beccles A bowled Hethersett & Tas Valley A for 161 before gettng home by six wickets.