Dereham survive in Norfolk Alliance Division One after thrilling finish
DEREHAM made sure of survival in Norfolk Alliance Division One with a thrilling win in gloomy conditions at Brooke – but the weather put paid to Bradenham's chances of staying up.
Starting the day 11 points above Bradenham, who occupied the second relegation spot, Dereham travelled to Brooke knowing that victory would ensure they stayed up following last year's promotion.
Skipper Duncan Hewitt lost the toss and Brooke chose to bat.
The hosts got off to a flier as the openers took a liking to the pace of Bradley Raper and James Harbour, racing to 78 without loss after nine overs.
Spin twins Max Cheetham and Jake Anema were introduced early and the pair reeled off 26 consecutive overs to halt Brooke's progress. Anema claimed four for 24, taking his tally for the season past 50 for the second consecutive year, while Cheetham took three for 31 as Brooke crumbled to 138 all out in the 46th over. Wicketkeeper Chris Vargeson was in fine form with three stumpings and a catch.
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Dereham have struggled to chase small targets this year, but Hewitt and David Lake took no risks as they put on 20. Hewitt was then dropped by the keeper, but the reprieve was short-lived as he was caught behind off the next ball.
Lake followed seven balls later and Sam Widdows was run out, but Cheetham smashed 24 before being caught to leave Dereham on 40 for four. Vargeson was dismissed first ball and Neil Irons adjudged lbw second ball, but Anema and Joe Marczewski took the pressure off with some aggressive shots.
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Dereham reached 110 for nine and it was left to last wicket pair Raper and Harbour to swing the bat in fading light as they somehow saw Dereham home. Hewitt said: The boys over the past two weeks gave it their all. I'm overjoyed that we avoided relegation.'
Bradenham finished bottom as their match at Bradfield was rained off – their eighth abandoned game this year.
n Dereham's presentation night has been moved to Saturday, September 22 (7.30pm).