Nail-biting time for Dereham cricketers

Dereham need nine points from their final match of the season this weekend to stave off the threat of relegation after losing at Saham Toney on Saturday.

Dereham need nine points from their final match of the season this weekend to stave off the threat of relegation after losing at Saham Toney on Saturday.

Joe Marczewski's side were defeated by 47 runs in Norfolk Alliance Division Two and now stand 16 points clear of Swardeston B, who picked up a surprise winning draw against Downham A.

If Dereham fail to gather the required nine points against already-relegated North Runcton A on Saturday, they face an anxious wait as Swardeston do not play their final match, against Fakenham A, until Bank Holiday Monday.

Saham Toney batted first on Saturday and were quickly out of the blocks. Jonathan Crisp bowled Ben Smart in the fourth over and Kristien Fletcher trapped Adrian Wood lbw in the next over, with 29 runs already on the board.

The high scoring rate continued as Saham reached 77 from 11 overs, before Max Cheetham claimed three wickets and Jake Anema also struck to reduce the hosts to 117-6.

But from that position of strength, Dereham's lack of bowling options cost them dearly as slow bowlers Duncan Hewitt and George Pledger went for 51 runs in their combined five overs.

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Simon Mower and Will Dyer plundered 95 for the seventh wicket to take the score past 200.

To their credit, Dereham stuck to the task and claimed maximum bowling points by bowling Saham out, with Anema claiming four wickets, but the total of 241 was always likely to a challenging target for the visitors.

They lost Phil Banyard without scoring early in their reply, but Hewitt batted aggressively to take Dereham past 50 in the seventh over.

David Lake was then contentiously given out lbw by umpire Francis Chinkin, one of eight lbw decisions given by the two umpires during the game, five of which went against Dereham.

Hewitt's innings was ended by Dyer's stunning one-handed catch in the covers, but Crisp and Anema kept Dereham in the hunt, adding 37 for the fourth wicket.

After Anema was caught behind, a string of three lbw decisions put Saham firmly in charge, with Crisp also departing bowled for 36.

Jack Perrin-West bravely resisted and along with Neil Burrage added 55 for the ninth wicket, before Perrin-West was caught for 37 attempting to hit over the top.

Needing six more runs to claim a crucial extra batting point, Dereham's innings was ended by another lbw decision, leaving them with plenty of work still to do in order to avoid dropping into Division Three.

Dereham (9pts) lost to Saham Toney (25) by 47 runs in Frankly Digital Norfolk Alliance Division Two.

Saham Toney: A Wood lbw Fletcher 8, B Smart b Crisp 12, M Thomas b Cheetham 32, A McGeorge c Burrage b Anema 12, D Ellis lbw Cheetham 12, D Sims b Cheetham 4, S Mower b Anema 73, W Dyer lbw Anema 36, W Smart not out 19, P Norman c Anema b Fletcher 1, J Norman b Anema 0; extras 29. Total 241.

Bowling: K Fletcher 12-1-74-2, J Crisp 4-0-35-1, M Cheetham 12-0-35-3, J Anema 11.2-2-50-4, D Hewitt 3-0-26-0, G Pledger 2-0-25-0.

Dereham: D Hewitt c Dyer b J Norman 44, P Banyard c Sims b B Smart 0, D Lake lbw J Norman 3, J Crisp b P Norman 36, J Anema c McGeorge b Dyer 22, J Marczewski lbw P Norman 14, M Cheetham lbw Mower 1, K Fletcher lbw Mower 0, J Perrin-West c Dyer b Wood 37, N Burrage lbw Mower 10, G Pledger not out 0; extras 28. Total 194.

Bowling: B Smart 6-0-21-1, J Norman 6-0-49-2, W Smart 5-0-37-0, W Dyer 5-0-17-1, S Mower 8.2-2-35-3, P Norman 4-2-5-2, M Thomas 2-0-12-0, D Ellis 3-1-4-0, D Sims 2-0-7-0, A Wood 3-1-5-1.

A severely-weakened Dereham A side were thrashed by Diss A in Norfolk Alliance Division Five.

Sam Widdows stepped up from his regular role as third team skipper to take charge of the seconds and saw his side bowled out for just 68 after the visitors opted to bowl first on a damp pitch.

Ian Battelley top-scored with 16 and was the only batsman to reach double figures as a Dereham side made up mainly of third teamers struggled against some testing and accurate Diss bowling.

In reply, Diss wasted no time in chasing down the small target as they knocked off the runs in just nine overs.

Arron Fletcher took the only wicket to fall in an impressive spell of seam bowling, but the other bowlers suffered as the runs flowed.

Dereham's Sunday side will need a win on the final day to secure promotion after losing by nine wickets against Great Ellingham.

After being asked to bat first on a wet pitch, Dereham struggled early on as openers Duncan Hewitt and David Lake struggled to get the ball away.

Hewitt fell for 17 and Lake and Jordan Fletcher followed soon after. Jon Crisp rebuilt the innings with a patient 25, and captain Jake Anema hit a quick-fire 30 to boost the final total.

Teenager James Harbour (19) played a mature innings to help Dereham to 138-9 from their 40 overs.

In reply, Anema and Harbour produced excellent opening spells without reward. Max Cheetham continued the good work with an excellent spell of spin bowling and deserved much more than figures of 0-13 from his ten overs.

The lack of wickets continued to frustrate Dereham and some wayward bowling saw Ellingham close in on the target.

Anema (1-30) eventually found a breakthrough, but it was too little too late, as Ellingham reached their target in the 38th over, Adrian Cooper making 76 not out.

Dereham now go into their final game next week against Reepham and Salle knowing a win will secure promotion, and also give them an outside hope of securing the league title after leaders Mundford lost to Terrington.