Hales & Loddon claim exciting win as bowlers and fielders keep their nerve

Chris Howes batting for Old Buckenham during Saturday's Norfolk Alliance Premier Division clash with

Chris Howes batting for Old Buckenham during Saturday's Norfolk Alliance Premier Division clash with Fakenham, which ended up being abandoned. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Postman Will Yates delivered a match-winning half-century as Hales and Loddon held their nerve to win a tense low-scoring affair at Barton Turf.

The bottom-of-the table outfit were in complete control thanks to an inspired bowling performance that had reduced H&L to 48-7 off 16 overs.

But No 8 Yates’ belligerent 54 containing nine boundaries, and a battling 11 from James Buckingham stopped the rot. Although H&L were eventually dismissed for a modest 120 in the 30th over, the only two batsmen to manage double figures had given their side a fighting chance.

After winning the toss and deciding to bowl first the hosts had quickly taken the upper hand, sparking a steady procession of H&L batsmen to the pavilion. Seamer Callum Gibson (3-18) and young spinner Oliver Cohen (3-12) tore the heart out of the innings, while William Shipley (2-19) also left his mark. While several of the lack-lustre H&L batsmen had cause to question the manner of their self-inflicted dismissals, the hosts’ bowlers and fielders deserved credit for the way they had acquitted themselves.

H&L, knowing they had little margin for error with the ball, made the perfect start by claiming two wickets in the 12 overs taken before tea.

A&B Wanderers, needing to score at a rate of only three an over, proceeded with caution, as opener Gus Skinner (15) and middle order men Stephen Tait (12), Callum Gibson (12), Daniel Gedge (14) and Lance Taylor (16) rallied to the cause. At 90-6 off 38 overs the outcome was very much in the balance.

But H&L’s bowlers made the pressure tell as they won an intriguing war of attrition, claiming the final four wickets over the course of the next five overs. In a frantic finale the last two wickets fell to run-outs as Wanderers’ young tailenders perished trying to scramble home for non-existent twos.

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A determined and focused all-round bowling and fielding effort was topped by skipper Isaac Rolph’s 3-18 from eight overs, while Matthew Buckingham weighed in with 2-24. Mark Stewart (1-18), Richard Cook (1-17) and Will Yates (1-17) took a wicket apiece while achieving the miserly economy levels the match situation demanded.

Musker McIntyre Man of the Match was Will Yates.

Hales and Loddon are at home to high-flying Denver tomorrow.