Last-ball victory for Cromer cricketers

Cromer Cricket Club's Tom Davies on his way to 86 runs in their game against Brooke. 

Cromer Cricket Club's Tom Davies on his way to 86 runs in their game against Brooke. - Credit: Kerry Lake

A nail-biting game went to the wire on Saturday at The Norton Warnes Cricket Ground as Cromer left it to the very last ball of the game to secure victory over visitors Brooke by three wickets. 

The Crabs required eight at start of the final over and Alan Stickells and Ollie Kimber had nurdled Cromer closer to the target before a crunching lofted cover-drive from Kimber brought the scores level with one to come.  

With the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats Kimber swung and missed at the wide-ish last ball and looked up expecting to see the umpire’s arms outstretched, only to discover Stickells haring down the pitch screaming for the bye whatever the cost.   

With Kimber late to the gate it looked like Brooke were going to win the race to the bowler’s end stumps, but a tragic fumble from Borges at the wicket in the process of gathering the throw gave Kimber a vital extra second to get his bat over the line.  

As the crowd erupted the Cromer players celebrated victory in a rollercoaster of an Alliance Premier Division match which breathes some life into the Crabs’ faltering title challenge.  

Cromer had won the toss and ask Brooke to bat on what was considered to be a bowler-friendly surface; however this turned out not to be the case as Brooke’s top order took the game to the Crabs with half-centuries for Harvey Lake and Sri Lankan pro Nipuna Gamage.

Michael Warnes took the early wicket of Borges but from then on containing the rate was a struggle for Cromer’s bowling attack on an excellent track prepared by groundsman Gascoyne. 

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Skipper Rob Purton shuffled the pack, bringing on left-arm spinner Cam Graveling, who made an immediate impact bowling Lake and having Shearer caught at point, but as Cromer fought back the injured Warnes was the stand-out bowler, plundering four Brooke wickets with Stickells taking two.

Although the home team had restricted the rate towards the end, at tea Cromer were slightly on the back foot and looking at 281 for victory.

However nerves were soon calmed as Cromer began their chase, veterans Tom Davies and Matthew Warnes getting off to a great start with Davies in particular continuing to show his impressive form this season with a flurry of boundaries - including fives maximums - for his 86.  

But both openers fell in quick succession, Warnes narrowly missing out on what would have been a fine half century when he was snaffled by Reynolds. 

Nat Laws and David Turner pushed Cromer forward nicely before Laws was caught and bowled by the Brooke professional Sri Lankan Nipuna Gamage for 41, and suddenly from a position of strength Cromer were wobbling - Bradshaw out first ball, followed by Michael Warnes for 1, and the chase was looking lost. 

Brooke had their tails up, but skipper Rob Purton had other ideas.  

Coming in at number 7 he steadied the ship and propelled Cromer on with some imperious shots, although Turner fell with Cromer still needing 29 from the remaining three overs.

Purton was joined by Kimber; 17 was now required from just two overs.

Three singles then a much welcome boundary, another single then disaster as Purton fell for a crucial 32, leaving the match titled in Brooke’s favour.  

But Stickells and Kimber had other ideas, riding the rollercoaster to the end and taking all 25 Premier League points for the Crabs. 

Cromer’s 2XI were away at Brooke in Division Three. Despite healthy contributions with the bat from James Craske (63), skipper Liam Davies (29), George Woodrow (22) and Neil Davies (30) Brooke were just too strong, winning by four wickets.