Bradenham edge home

Bradenham got their Norfolk Alliance Division One season off to the best possible start with a maximum 25-point haul at Topcroft in a game which went down to the wire, with Alex Bates taking the final wicket in the 49th over to secure victory by just one run.

Fielding five players aged 18 or under, the visitors posted a competitive total of 225 for five on a slow wicket after their allotted 50 overs

Openers Steve Matthews (13) and Kevin Stagles added 30 before Matthews departed. Disaster followed with the total 53 with Stagles run out for 20 after a mix-up with Lewis Denmark.

Denmark (28) thereafter lacked his usual fluency however he and Brett Stolworthy consolidated in taking the total past 100 in the 30th over.

Stolworthy quickly got into his stride and became the dominant partner and reached an excellent half-century before offering a return catch to the bowler and was dismissed for 54 fully justifying the skipper's decision to promote him to No 4.

At 147 for five in the 39th over Patrick Dewing was joined by 17-year-old Andy Wilton and together they built a match-winning unbroken stand of 78 to take the total past 200. They plundered 19 off the last over to secure a fifth batting bonus point.

Dewing batted with a fluency to finish 56 not out with Wilton, in probably his best innings for the club, finished an excellent 27 not out.

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The Topcroft reply got off to a shaky start with an early wicket to Brett Stolworthy, and he followed up with a second in the 11th over with the total 47.

Baldwin and Davies then built what looked to be a match-winning stand of 123 for the third wicket – the Bradenham cause not helped by a succession of wides and several spilled catches.

The match changed with the introduction of Ryan Adcock into the attack – the total had reached 170 after 36 over's, when in his second over he accounted for both batsmen – trapping Baldwin lbw and then Davies to a fine steepling catch by Alex Bates.

A feature of this Bradenham team is their team spirit and togetherness which evolved at the end of last season, and this began to shine through when, against the odds, they clawed their way back into the match.

Stolworthy finished an excellent spell with another two wickets to finish with figures of 4-56 from 13 overs.

The return of Alex Bates bowling around the wicket proved to be a master-stroke as he picked up two wickets in two balls in his first over which was quickly followed by another to Adcock as the innings subsided to 209 for nine in the 45th over.

With victory in sight a tense finish ensued before Denmark held on to a catch to cue massive victory celebrations.

Bates finished with the excellent figures of 3-33 from 9.3 overs, in a return to form and Adcock, promoted from the second team during the week, just eclipsed him with 3-32 from sevenovers.

A fantastic start to the season although the dropped catches were a major concern together with a total of 49 extras conceded, including 37 wides.

Bradenham are sponsored by Trek Highway Services and this week take on Bradfield at home with a 1pm start on The Green.

Bradenham: K Stagles run out 20, S Matthews lbw Baldwin 13, L Denmark lbw Rostron 28, B Stolworthy c-b Goodfellow 64, M Hunter c-b Razzaq 3, P Dewing not out 56, A Wilton not out 27; extras 5. Total 235. Bowling: B Baldwin 13.0-2-55-1, G Rostron 13.0-0-53-1, H Razzaq 12.0-0-51-1, J Goodfellow 12.0-1-63-1.

Topcroft: M Goodfellow c Matthews b Stolworthy 6, P Holmes c Denmark Stolworthy 19, B Baldwin lbw Adcock 62, B Davies c Bates B Adcock 41, J Goodfellow c Matthews B Adcock 16, G Rostron b Stolworthy 16, J Nobbs lbw Stolworthy 1, G Collins b Bates 1, A Adcock lbw Bates 0, H Razzaq c Denmark B Bates 10, N Twyman not out 3; extras 10. Total 224. Bowling: B Stolworthy 13.0-1-56-4, A Bates 9.3-1-33-3, D Hillier 10.0-1-39-0, M Hunter 4.0-0-30-0, L Denmark 5.0-0-23-0, R Adcock 7.0-0-32-3.

Bradenham A (3pts) lost to Mundford (21) by five wickets in Alliance Division Four, suffering from team-raising difficulties, with a scratch team having a very difficult task. Mundford won by five wickets chasing a modest total of 110.

The unfamiliar opening pair of Peter Hills (14) and Kevin Denmark (19) added 45 before Denmark was well caught in the 11th over. The innings subsided to 79 for seven.

Steve Watts, showing excellent restraint, and Jeff Goodge added 30 for the next wicket in quick time before Goodge was caught for a well crafted but valuable 21 runs, which turned out to be the top score of the innings with Watts quickly following for 20, with the final wicket falling in the 41st over.

Bradenham got off to a fine start in the field start with Watts taking a wicket with the first ball of the innings. He continued to ball a tight opening spell in tandem with Will Dewing, who bowled five overs conceding just 13 runs.

Skipper Ian Moody bowled an excellent spell of 12 overs in taking 3-25 to offer some hope but Robin Yates (37) slowly edged his team towards victory in the 35th over. Goodge excelled with a good catch to dismiss Yates just before the end.

Bradenham who never let their spirits drop. Saturday sees an equally tough task when they visit Thetford 1st X1, needing a much stronger team.