Downham Market improving with bat to grab winning draw

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Dipple and Conway Norfolk Alliance Premier Division

Downham Town 269 for 7 wkts (14 pts) drew at Old Buckenham (12) 244 for 7

Downham’s resurgence with the bat continued on Saturday as they won the toss and batted first at Old Buckenham.

Ian Harrison looked on good form before he chased a wide one from Lee and was caught at slip.

Angus Stuart, promoted to opening the innings, was hitting the ball hard and dealing in boundaries only. Pat Yates, too, looked in good nick as the pair started the innings well for Town. Yates too nicked a wide ball to the keeper for 50 with the score on 102. Stuart brought up his fifty with another hard hit boundary. Nick Kelly was now batting with Stuart and the runs began to flow. Stuart was adjudged LBW for 60 to bring Paul Harwood to the crease. Kelly was in full flow by now as Harwood struggled initially.

Old Buck could not contain Kelly and a massive total was on the cards for Town. Kelly raced passed his 50 with four consecutive boundaries from the 37th over. This over brought up the 200 for Town and the signs looked ominous for the home side.

Harwood was now too getting into his stride and hitting the ball hard. After some punishment from Kelly Rob Austin had him caught at backward point for an excellent 68. Town continued the push for 300 as Old Buck’s bowlers stuck to the task in hand. A cameo from Chris Sharp and 47 from Harwood saw Town close on 269, probably 30 less than had looked likely, even after Kelly had been dismissed.

Town’s bowlers after a very hearty tea started sluggishly as the wides given away helped Old Buck’s innings get going.

Eventually the bowlers found their line and stemmed the run rate but did not manage to take a wicket. The openers never got on top of Town’s changed bowlers but at the first drinks break had kept their wickets intact. The first wicket did not fall until the introduction of Peter Barnard, who encouraged Askew to hit a bouncer into the hands of skipper Lanchester at mid-off. Barnard accounted for Alexander, LBW, as Town now started to make some inroads into the line up. Aussie Crittenden and Long now showed a bit more intent and picked up the flagging run rate. But with the batsmen’s aggression Town had to take the chances that would evidently be given. Angus Stuart caught Crittenden in the deep off Kelly and Long ran past a Kelly delivery to be stumped by Rob King.

Skipper Lawrence was now at the crease and set about getting his team somewhere near their target, Lawrence hit the ball hard and although Town removed Heaney and Thurley the 90 per cent target was now looking nailed-on.

Harwood bowled Thompson to give him his third wicket but a boundary over top of square leg for Lee saw Old Buck to the 90%.

Lawrence, who had made a very good 63, then blocked out the last over to maintain the points his side had taken. An excellent game of cricket with bat on top of ball, well umpired and played in the right spirit.

Only a 14-point haul on the day was a disappointment for Town after their batsmen had done their job.

Some of the bowlers must be reflecting on the wides bowled that had clearly helped Old Buck attain their 244 for 7 total, not only the run count but the extra 4 overs they had to achieve their target.

Town make the short journey to near neighbours Stow tomorrow and must hope to continue their improvement in recent results. Stow are desperately in need of a win.

CGM Group Man of the Match: Angus Stuart.