Beetley CC finish the first half of Norfolk League season on high note

Dereham skipper Duncan Hewitt take evasive action during his side's home match against Lowestoft in

Dereham skipper Duncan Hewitt take evasive action during his side's home match against Lowestoft in Norfolk Alliance Division One. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Beetley ended the first half of their campaign in Norfolk League Division Two West on a high note with a 55-run victory at Holt.

After a tough start to the season Beetley had targeted the three games at the end of the first half and achieved two victories, both similarly achieved, to take hope into the second half.

Beetley were asked to bat first on a hot afternoon and made a steady start against a tight attack. Holt's pitch is renowned for various vagaries, steepling bounce followed by shooters, and these were in evidence from the start.

Gary Hinchliffe became the first victim when he was caught at slip from steep bounce induced by Robin Thaxter for 13. Thaxter bowled through for figures of 10-7-7-1, with runs hard to come by. Nick Calvert made nine and when Mark Hinchliffe joined Paul Taylor the pair added 40 to take the score to 87-3 in the 30th over.

Taylor finally succumbed for a hard-fought 25, the first of five wickets for the occasional, but very effective, off spin of Holt skipper Ciaran Chapman.

Mark Hinchliffe top scored with 29, taking advantage of the few loose deliveries but then familiar traits appeared and the lower middle were picked off, save Luke Cordon (12 not out) to leave Beetley 130-9 off their 45 overs and 30 or so runs short of what was wanted.

Holt skipper Chapman took 5-32.

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As Holt began their chase it soon became apparent the pitch was going to behave no differently and captain Michael Calvert and Gary Hinchliffe bowled well to exploit this.

Key wickets of the top three were claimed as 26-3 in 10 overs soon became 51-9 in 26 overs. Calvert took 2-21 off his 10 overs, Gary Hinchliffe 3-24, Ady Grieff 3-19 and Lewis Jones 1-8 off four overs.

A combination of exploiting the variable bounce, superb catches and fielding, notably keeper Mark Mitchell, and a goalkeeper-style slip catch from Ian Clarke put Beetley in a position of strength.

Holt's final pair added 24 before the inevitable occurred, Paul Taylor taking the catch off Luke Cordon (1-5) to leave Holt dismissed for 75 in the 37th over.

Beetley have a week off following Felthorpe A's withdrawal so resume with a home fixture against Garboldisham B on July 1. They remain second from bottom in the table, but are now just eight points behind the side above them,