Dereham close in with derby victory

Dereham edged ever closer to promotion in Norfolk Alliance Division Two with a nail-biting victory over local rivals Fakenham on Saturday.

The visitors crucially won the toss and elected to field on an outfield wet from the morning rain. Dereham's first breakthrough came after 40 runs were put on the board, as Bradley Raper's superb line and length forced Fakenham captain Paul Dunger into a rash shot.

With a big total looking on the cards Jake Anema grabbed the prize wicket of Sean Cooper for 20 as he was stumped by Joe Marczewski, after he was twice dropped before getting off the mark.

Fakenham made slow progress with only 72 runs on the board at the drinks break, mainly down to Dereham's splendid bowling and outstanding fielding. Daniel Lake nearly produced the catch of the season as his full length dive had the players running to celebrate, only for Lake to admit dropping the ball out of the sight of the umpires.

This inspired Dereham as the hosts only amassed 163 for six which included three run outs, two for Daniel Lake and the other to Neil Irons.

In reply Dereham got off to a steady start until David Lake was adjudged LBW. Max Cheetham moved up the order to try get the runs flowing and hit a steady 16 before being bowled. Duncan Hewitt at the other end was in outstanding form again and his crucial 44 looked to have sealed the victory before two wickets fell quickly. Only needing 14 to win, Joe Marczewski (38) was run out by Jon Crisp who had called for a quick run but Marczewski slipped on take off. It was left to 17-year-old Dale Barratt to see Dereham home with a rustic lofted straight drive for four.

Hewitt said: 'Our fielding and bowling won the game for us, this could have been so different.'

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Dereham vice-captain Anema added: 'My bowling wasn't the best today but we got through it – Duncan is leading us so well.'

Hethersett & Tas Valley's defeat at Beccles means Dereham now hold a 27-point advantage at the top and they could celebrate promotion when they host Hillington on Saturday.