Thetford (284-9) beat Hales & Loddon (175) by 109 runs in Norfolk Alliance Division Six.
Teenage talent Matthew Buckingham posted a fine 73 but Hales and Loddon were outgunned at Thetford.
Buckingham showed maturity way beyond his 16 years to register his maiden half century as H&L attempted in vain to overhaul Town’s sizeable 284-9 total. Against some seasoned bowlers Buckingham produced an excellent effort containing 12 fours, but found little in the way of support in the batting ranks. Aldwyn Lindsay’s cameo 23 was the next best score as H&L’s reply ended on 175 in the 38th over.
Opening duo Jack Cook (8) and Milton Lindsay (9) were both claimed cheaply by medium-pacer Gav Siriwardena as Town took an early grip on proceedings. Cook, the previous week’s centurion, fell to a catch behind while Lindsay was bowled by a ball that nipped back and caught the inside edge.
When Mark Stewart (3) was adjudged lbw to a delivery from medium-pacer Ray Smeed, H&L’s prospects of victory sunk further. There was a brief cameo from Auldwynne Lindsay before he was trapped leg before by spinner Mick Piggott for 23 and Martin Wells hit 11 including a mighty six before holing out to deep mid-wicket off the slow bowling of Nathan Coleman.
While wickets tumbled around him Buckingham maintained his composure playing some stylish shots on his way to 73 before Smeed broke through his defences. Despite an injury which meant he had been unable to bowl Dave Redford contributed a spirited tailend unbeaten 15 as H&L were dismissed for 175.
Smeed took the Thetford bowling honours with 4 for 31 from nine overs, while Siriwardena returned 3 for 20 from 6.4 overs, Coleman 2 for 32 from seven and Piggott 1 for 13 from a tight five over spin spell.
After being invited to bat by H&L stand-in skipper Pete Dye the hosts had taken first use of a good-looking and well-prepared track. H&L enjoyed an early success when Auldywnne Lindsay took a juggling boundary catch to claim the wicket of opener Smeed for 6 off the bowling of Richard Cook.
But H&L had to endure a frustrating long wait for further success as experienced duo Darren Newey and Mick Piggott established a 140-run 2nd wicket partnership in 24 overs. The stand was eventually broken when James Rowswell trapped Newey lbw for 59.
The powerful Piggott eventually fell for 77 when he could only slap a Buckingham long hop into the hands of Stewart at mid-on. A hard-hit unbeaten 42 from Siriwardena took the total to 284-9.
It was a spirited H&L fightback with the ball and in the field as Town at one point appeared to be motoring towards a 300-plus total.
Rowswell bowled a decent spell to claim 3 for 59 from his eight overs, figures tarnished by his final over which was despatched for 20. Jack Cook’s five overs of spin returned 2 for 26 and there were wickets apiece for Buckingham and Richard Cook, with two run-outs accounting for the other victims. Although wicketless, Mark Stewart bowled well, finding good movement in an economical nine overs which cost a mere 29 runs and included a number of unsuccessful lbw appeals mainly against Piggott. One disappointing aspect of the bowling effort was the 46 wides which made up the lion’s share of a mammoth 60 extras conceded.
Musker McIntyre H&L MoM: Matthew Buckingham