Bates leads by example to guide Bradenham to thrilling victory

Old Buckenham (batting) v Fakenham (bowling)Rob Goodwin in red helmet.Byline: Sonya DuncanCopyright:

Old Buckenham (batting) v Fakenham (bowling)Rob Goodwin in red helmet.Byline: Sonya DuncanCopyright: Archant 2017 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Despite a gloomy and damp day the game between Bradenham and Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers in Division Two of the Norfolk Alliance started on time.

However, with the poor weather forecast the captains had agreed a 40 over game from the start.

The home side were in the field first and for once bagged an early wicket with William Dewing striking in the third over.

Ashmanhaugh struggled to accumulate runs against the accuracy of Martin Fox who bowled his eight overs for just 11 runs and when veteran Brett Gates was introduced in the 17th over he quickly took two wickets in successive balls.

Al Bates picked up another soon after to leave the visitors 57-4. However, despite not scoring quickly they held onto their wickets better and reached 123 before Gates returned to take two more finishing with 4-37.

Skipper Bates was almost as mean as Fox, completing his eight overs with 2-15 and then some frantic running saw two late run outs as Ashmanhaugh finished up on 140-9.

As tea was taken the heavens opened and it was to be 90 minutes before Bradenham could start their innings.

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The cover had done its job and the pitch was fine. Unfortunately this didn't prevent Mike Taylor losing his stumps in the second over as Bradenham start poorly.

Another wicket fell just before thunder cracked and the rain began again to take the players off the field in the 10th over. Just over an hour later the umpires deemed the conditions good enough to resume and felt a result was possible by the 8.30pm cut-off. Frustratingly, another wicket fell straight away to leave the home side 37-3.

Gates and nephew Dewing steadied the ship and moved the score along to 72 before the former was pinned lbw. This prompted a flurry of wickets that left Bradenham's position as bleak as the weather at 89-7.

Skipper Bates was at the wicket now and as young Joe Taylor kept his wicket intact he took on the Ashmanhaugh attack with gusto. He took his score along to 45 before smashing his fourth six into the trees to complete an unbeaten 51 and take his side to only their third victory of the season.

Bradenahm moved off the foot of the table as a result but are still 37 points adrift of third from bottom Great Witchingham A. They visit Swaffham on Saturday.