Stow and Downham tie Norfolk Alliance Premier Division derby thriller
A remarkable top-of-the table Norfolk Alliance Premier Division clash between Stow and Downham ended in a tie.
Both teams had their chances to win a thrilling A10 derby on Saturday, before drama on the penultimate ball saw the game end all square.
Downham skipper Pat Yates, whose side were sporting their new training kit sponsored by JD Power Systems, won the toss and elected to bat first.
Stow opening bowlers Daniel Ward and Lloyd Richmond started well, with Richmond claiming the early wicket of Jason Porter, who was leg-before-wicket for two.
Pat Yates (38) and Ian Harrison (53) battled hard on a testing pitch to set a platform.
Peter Brassett’s introduction with the ball, brought the breakthrough as he turned one through Yates’ gate to clean-bowl him.
From there the bowling side were mostly on top, with no Downham batsman really looking comfortable on a turning pitch.
Fletcher Coutts looked to counter-attack along with Harrison, whose knock was built on patience and some hard-hitting.
Brassett again got a breakthrough as Coutts tried to turn the ball into the leg side but ended up getting a leading edge to Esse at mid-wicket.
Duncan Lanchester joined Harrison, who passed 50, before Stow turned to the pace of Fin Wilcox.
The change saw Harrison mis-time a pull shot and he was caught by Richmond for a well-made 53.
Stow then returned to spin through Declan Oldreive, Otto Esse and Brassett as they looked to finish the innings strongly.
Oldreive bowled Duncan Lanchester for 28, Dom Corbett for 11 and Sam Sharp for 2 before Esse removed Richards for 11 to leave Downham on 183-8.
Cam McIsaac chipped in late on with a cameo of 14 before Esse removed Rob Hooton to see Downham finish on 205-9.
After tea, young George Bruce removed the dangerous Keith Thomson, caught brilliantly behind in the second over.
From there, though, Stow were in control as another youngster, Ben Wilcox, looked comfortable at the crease, reaching a half-century of his own.
Wilcox was joined by captain Esse and he looked to have sewn up the game with a measured 61.
Downham were not finished, however, and the re-introduction of Fletcher Coutts did the trick, removing Wilcox caught-and-bowled, to trigger panic in the Stow ranks.
The wicket was quickly followed up as Bruce ran-out George Cook for eight with a brilliant direct hit from the boundary rope.
Wickets continued to tumble, Kurt Richards picked up two and managed to luckily run-out the dangerous Davey at the non-strikers end, whilst Harrison bowled economically from the other end.
When Esse was dropped with three overs to go, Downham could have been forgiven for giving up.
But McIsaac had other ideas behind the stumps and next ball he brilliantly stumped the captain off a leg-side ball as Esse overbalanced.
That left the final pair of Stow batsman 15 runs to get from two overs.
Richards went for just three in the penultimate over, leaving Richmond and Brassett needing 12 from six balls.
Some good shots and elements of luck saw the hosts need three off the final delivery to win.
Downham again thought they had blown it, as the penultimate ball was called a no ball for not having the four men required in the ring, which also went for a run and the scores were tied.
Brassett was on strike and as he blocked it straight down the pitch
The Stow pair set off for the one run required.
Sharp picked the ball up and, as players stood with heads in hands, he turned and threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end, to tie the game and leave both teams thinking, what might have been.
Shire Foods MoM: Ian Harrison.