Hales and Loddon (199-3) beat Thetford A (198-7) by seven wickets in Norfolk Alliance Division Six.
Jack Cook and Auldwyn Lindsay posted half-centuries as Hales and Loddon ended a four-match losing streak with their best performance of the season – a morale-boosting seven-wicket win over promotion-chasing Thetford A.
A run of nightmare batting performances which had seen H&L shot out for sub-100 totals in recent matches was forgotten as the hosts knuckled down to the task against the second-placed visitors, reaching the 199 victory target with nearly five overs to spare.
Milton Lindsay stroked four fours in a promising 18 before advancing down the pitch to Craig Baulch and being adjudged LBW but an opening partnership of 43 in 11 overs with Jack Cook had given the team the momentum they needed. After the departure of Tim Outlaw, bowled by Joel Fernandes for a patient seven, Cook was joined by Calypso cricketer Auldwyn Lindsay and the duo produced an eye-catching array of shots to all areas. Cook was eventually bowled by Zak Wilson for a fine 66, containing 11 fours.
Wary of past batting collapses, skipper Mark Stewart sensibly decided to adopt a low-risk strategy, pushing 10 singles in a row as he supported the free-scoring Lindsay. The duo steered the side past the winning post in the 40th over with Lindsay 72 not out (10 fours) and Stewart unbeaten on 17.
Earlier, after being invited to bat, the visitors had made ominous smooth progress as the vastly-experienced opening duo of Mick Piggott and Darren Newey put on 92 in 21 overs. Richard Cook made the all-important breakthrough with an away- swinger which saw Piggott fall to a fine low catch by wicket-keeper Jack Cook for 35. Anthony Elsom fired in a crafty yorker to remove Newey for 52 as H&L’s bowlers seized the upper hand. Late flurries from Craig Baulch (26) and Mitchell Plumpton (34 not out) took the hosts to the brink of a 200 total but H&L were able to take heart from a much better showing in the field.
Stewart, Will Yates, Richard Cook and Anthony Elsom all took a wicket apiece while left-arm spinner Martin Wells underlined his value with 3 for 27 from his six overs. The 19 extras conceded was a vast improvement on recent profligate showings.
Musker McIntyre MoMs: Jack Cook and Auldwyn Lindsay.