Hales & Loddon claim narrow win in exciting local derby

Cricket action between Swardeston (batting) and Great Witchingham. Picture: Nick Butcher

Cricket action between Swardeston (batting) and Great Witchingham. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Milton Lindsay posted a resolute half-century and talisman Will Yates bagged four wickets in an inspired bowling performance as Hales and Loddon notched up their fourth win in five matches with a revenge derby win over Topcroft A.

Veteran opener Lindsay carried his bat for an unbeaten 72, mixing graft with careful shot selection, as H&L posted a competitive 190 total after being put into bat on a rain-softened pitch.

Jack Cook weighed in with 20, before unluckily being given out caught behind by Kevin Springall off the bowling of Martin Talbot.

Skipper Isaac Rolph made a hard-hit 39 before popping up a catch to Luke Wheeler off the bowling of Talbot. The H&L total was boosted by 46 extras, including 36 wides.

Left-armer Talbot topped the Topcroft bowling effort with two for 26 from nine tidy overs while paceman Luke Wheeler bowled well for one for 28 from eight overs.

Mark Stewart made the first H&L breakthrough, having opener Jacob Rhodes caught for five by Auldwyn Lindsay in the fourth over. The introduction of in-form slow bowlerl Yates in the seventh over saw H&L tighten their grip as he produced a double-wicket maiden which accounted for James Prewer-Andrews, bowled for two, and Martin Talbot, caught behind by Cook for a duck. Yates later struck again to bowl Matthew Babbington for a promising 21 before claiming the key wicket of the experienced Kevin Springall, who attempted an audacious reverse sweep when on 39 only to be smartly caught by James Rowswell at point.

Topcroft were guided towards their target by a spirited lower order push before Rolph struck with a timely pearler of a delivery to bowl Wheeler for 18, leaving the total on 144 for eight with seven overs remaining.

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Tailenders Lee Ellis (14) and Craig Ellis (9) put on 33 in a defiant ninth-wicket stand before Jack Cook claimed both wickets in the 43rd over to end the game with the plucky visitors 13 runs short of victory.

Yates topped the bowling effort with four for 24 from nine overs, while Mark Stewart bowled well for his two for 22 from nine overs, The Topcroft total was bolstered by 38 wides.

H&L’s final two games see them travel to title-chasing Horsford B before they host Dereham A.

Musker McIntyre joint man of the match: Lindsay and Yates.