Historic year for cricket league and Swaffham sponsors

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The Dipple & Conway Opticians Norfolk Cricket Alliance celebrated a century and a hat-trick...before the first bat was raised in competition.

Swaffham-based Dipple & Conway are backing Norfolk’s premier cricket league for a third successive season – in a year the independent family opticians business marks its own 100 not out.

Meanwhile the 42 Alliance member clubs reached a momentous milestone of their own during the close season, voting to change their match rules and consign the draw result to history.

Following last season’s relegation from the Premier Division, Stow are adjusting to life in Division One, their place being taken by promoted North Runcton. Bircham have been welcomed to Division Five after finishing as Division Six champions last year.

Last season’s West Norfolk League champions Hockwold are rewarded for their success with a berth in Alliance Division Six.

Matthew Conway, whose great-grandfather founded the Swaffham, Norwich and Diss-based Dipple and Conway business in 1916, said he and fellow directors were looking forward to their hat-trick season sponsoring the Alliance with pride and excitement.

He said: “This is going to be an extra special season for us. Dipple & Conway is celebrating 100 years as an independent family-owned business at the core of Norfolk life. Our roots are four generations deep. What better way to do that than in partnership with an organisation which itself is at the centre of the community?

“Health and wellbeing is at the heart of what Dipple & Conway does – and we are delighted to promote physical activity among people of all ages. We are especially keen to help get children and young people motivated.”

Chairman Peter Thomas accepted that after thoroughly enjoying playing the win-lose-draw format for 45 years, the switch to a straight win-lose format would take him some time to get used to: “However I trust players will adjust rapidly and enjoy playing to the new rules. I wish all our teams well in their quest for silverware.”