Cromer cricketers take the points in exciting game against Thetford
- Credit: Kerry Lake
Young left-armer Cam Graveling led the way as the much-vaunted Cromer attack roared again at newly-promoted Thetford in the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division.
Ex-Norfolk skipper Paul Bradshaw claimed 2-33 and there were another three wickets for wily veteran Rob Purton, but Graveling's superb spell of 4-25 knocked the stuffing out of the hosts as they collapsed to 148 all out, with Cromer then chasing down the target to give the Crabs back-to-back victories and starting to build momentum in the early season table.
Thetford had starting promisingly, with L. Conroy and Newey seeing off the new ball in an opening stand of 43, before Graveling had Newey caught at point and trapped Conroy in front.
Murray chipped to midwicket for a duck and R. Conroy edged the Norfolk left-armer to Kimber, and from nowhere Thetford had lost four wickets for five runs to leave their innings in disarray.
Although Coates put up some resistance with a valiant 27, Purton turned the screw on the middle order with his canny off-breaks, and the returning Bradshaw snared Baulgh and Peacock as the hosts struggled to set any kind of total.
The tail wagged briefly as the final wicket put on 35, but Purton had Hills stumped to end the fun and finish with 3-25, with one wicket for Alan Stickells in an excellent spell opposite Graveling, and it looked as if 148 was an easy ask for the Cromer batters.
However the Thetford bowlers had other ideas, and in a mirror of the first innings Tom Davies and Nat Laws got off to a solid start, putting on 25 before Laws fell.
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Suddenly Cromer lost Davies and then Dave Turner and the board read 49-3. Worse was to follow as debutant Muzi Ndlela fell with the score at 61-4, and the chase was in the balance.
But Cromer have the luxury of experience all the way down the order, and all-rounders Bradshaw and Michael Warnes came together to steady the nerves.
Both were solid but severe on the bad ball, and the reply gradually gathered momentum.
Bradshaw raised his bat for another vital 50, and Warnes had nearly got the Crabs over the line before falling for a crucial 30, before his new-ball partner hit the winning runs to finish 61* and seal the points - and second place in the table - for Cromer.
The Second XI batted nicely to set Hockwold a decent target of 255 at the Norton Warnes, Dan Byrne the highlight with an excellent unbeaten 50 and George Woodrow 44, but some average bowling saw the visitors chase down the total to win by six wickets with a couple of overs to spare.