NINE-MAN BELTON TRIUMPH IN WEST-NORFOLK
The nine men of Belton, a pair of Savoury’s and Goreham’s along with Nichols, Comer, Cropley, Toll and Mir travelled the breadth of the county and returned to the coast with a brilliant seven-wicket victory over second-place Hockwold.
Hockwold skipper Groom won the toss and, unsurprisingly considering their depleted visitors, elected to bat first.
The early signs were ominous for the visitors when Bland elegantly drove his first-ball to the cover boundary for four. Belton’s opening bowlers, Nichols and Savoury, began to tie down the hosts opening batsman with the only boundaries thereafter coming when Ruddick fortuitously edged Nichols for four on two occasions.
Savoury got the much needed breakthrough with two wickets in successive deliveries at the end of the fifth over. Bland was adjudged lbw to a delivery that nipped back of the seam for 8 before Storey was cleaned up for a first ball duck.
With Nichols and Savoury now building pressure in tandem, the visitors were off to a fine start considering the circumstances and things got better when Savoury got another one to nip back off the seam and bowl opener Ruddick between bat and pad for 18 – Hockwold 28-3 from the first ten overs.
Gilmour, who was joined by Bland, batted out a fine maiden from Nichols before making a dent in Savoury’s figures with three boundaries in succession through the off-side. The double introduction of Comer and Wayne Goreham brought a brief release in pressure for the hosts and Bland hit both to the boundary.
The Belton duo began to find their length and the runs started to dry up and with the partnership on exactly fifty, Comer got the breakthrough when Bland played around his front pad and was out leg-before for 19.
Hockwold skipper Groom made his intentions know immediately when he charged Goreham on his first two balls faced, the second clearing Nichols at mid-off for four. Goreham got his revenged next ball when Groom went back to a delivery that Goreham pushed through quicker and was bowled for four. Gilmour was gifted a life on 30 when he was put down off Goreham at cover.
In the following over, Comer got his second wicket when Ruddick could only top edge into the safe hands of Goreham at mid-wicket for just 2 – Hockwold taking drinks on 86-6.
Izzard slogged over cow corner for four before Gilmour launched Goreham for six and then four to edge close to take the hosts past the hundred mark. Izzard was then out leg-before-wicket when he was beaten by an inswinging delivery from R.Goreham.
Gilmour reached his half-century with a brace of singles before left-armer Goreham picked up his second wicket when Hayes played all around a full-toss and was out lbw without scoring.
Gilmour lobbed mid-on for four before he was given a second reprieve when he was put down at gully on 65. Goreham then had Smith caught by Comer diving forward at mid-wicket to bring last-man Marlow to the wicket with the score on just 130.
Sensing that the innings was coming to a close, Gilmour launched into a stunning assault on the visitors bowling. The returning Savoury was despatched straight over his head for a maximum before Gilmour launched into R.Goreham and smashed four sixes in three overs to edge close to a ton.
He reached his hundred with another maximum over long-off before he was the final man out when he was caught by Cropley off Goreham for a stunning 105 – Hockwold bowled out for 177, a fantastic effort in the field by the nine-men of Belton.
Goreham and skipper Savoury set about making inroads into the target. Savoury swept Marlow for four from the final ball of the opening over but failed to add to his score when he was adjudged leg-before to an inswinging delivery from Ruddick.
George Savoury joined Goreham at the crease and got off the mark immediately with a succession of twos before Goreham drove Ruddick for four. Savoury then went back foot to launch Storey for a maximum over mid-wicket to take the visitors to 41-1 off the first ten overs.
Goreham knew he had to play a long innings and was content with milking the bowling at this early stage before Savoury found the fence with a trademark dab down to third man. The partnership had reached 49 when Hockwold were gifted their second wicket. Goreham pushed into the off-side and called Savoury through for a single – but Ruddick was onto the ball quickly and Savoury was well short of his ground for a well-compiled 25.
Goreham, in partnership with Cropley had to put the disappointing circumstances surrounding Savoury’s dismissal behind them and take Belton towards their target. Both batsmen were struggling for any real timing but were still able to milk the bowling and keep the runs ticking over, before Goreham cut Gilmour through point for four to take Belton to the drinks break at 75-2.
Goreham brought out a glorious trademark cover-drive off Bland before Cropley launched Groom and then Gilmour for a maximum. The pair were edging Belton towards victory and Goreham passed his half-century before the returning Storey was despatched for successive boundaries. The partnership had reached 105, and with Belton just nine runs short of victory, Goreham departed when he was bowled by Groom attempting a shot into the leg-side for a well-compiled 64.
With nine runs required from the last two overs, Cropley pushed two and then hit Bland over mid-wicket for four to pass his half-century.Belton were then gifted the winning runs when Mir knocked the ball into the leg-side only for the fielders wild throw presented two overthrows and a Belton victory by seven-wickets – a brilliant effort from the nine men.
|J.Gilmour||ct Cropley||b R.Goreham||105|
|A.Ruddick||ct R.Goreham||b Comer||2|
|C.Smith||ct Comer||b R.Goreham||5|
|TOTAL||All out||after 35.2 overs||177|
Fall of Wickets: 1-16 (R.Bland), 2-16 (Storey), 3-28 (J.Ruddick), 4-78 (L.Bland), 5-83 (Groom), 6-86 (A.Ruddick), 7-106 (Izzard), 8-110 (Hayes), 9-130 (Smith), 10-177 (Gilmour)
|Extras:||(5b, 6lb, 18w)||29|
|TOTAL||For 3 wickets||after 38.4 overs||178|
Fall of Wickets: 1-15 (A.Savoury), 2-64 (G.Savoury), 3-169 (Goreham)