Hales & Loddon’s bid to pull clear of the Norfolk Alliance Division Five danger zone suffered a setback after a crushing 87-run defeat at the Denes Oval home of relegation rivals Lowestoft Town A.
After battling hard to restrict the hosts to 200 in near-perfect conditions at Town’s scenic seafront ground, H&L slumped to a disastrous 113 all out with 18 of the scheduled 46 overs unused. At the start of play three points had separated the teams but H&L’s sad surrender with the bat saw the Suffolk side increase the gap to 25 points. H&L remain anchored to the bottom, seven points behind Swardeston B, who have a game in hand.
Lowestoft’s 200 total was dominated by an unbeaten 101 from Tom Brice. It was an innings laced with authentic powerful strokes, none more so than the towering six over the mid-wicket trees off the bowling of Pearson, which made the huge legside boundary look small. Brice batted well for his century, containing nine fours and two sixes, but H&L rued dropped catches when he had made 38, a mistimed pull to mid-on, and a drilled drive to long-off which was spilled when he had reached 80.
Peter Sims (29), Ramesh Tirimana (23) and Lawrence de Coteau (25 not out) were the other chief contributors to a 200 total which looked par for the course on a flat track and fast outfield and was far from intimidating to the visitors.
Paceman Isaac Rolph spearheaded the H&L effort with the ball, bowling with fire to claim 2 for 49 from 12 overs, while Mark Stewart and skipper Josh Pitcher claimed a wicket apiece. Pitcher, suffering the effects of food poisoning after an ill-fated visit to a Chinese food stall at the Latitude Festival, deserved credit for managing six overs despite obvious discomfort, which had forced him to leave the field for a while.
The H&L reply featured only one partnership worthy of note with veteran Milton Lindsay and in-form Will Yates adding 44 for the second wicket. Yates fell for a spirited 21 when a thick outside edge off the bowling of Alex Haverson was parried by the wicket-keeper and snaffled low down by veteran Lawrence de Coteau, in a notable feat of athleticism for a big man. Lindsay’s determined resistance was ended on 19 when he was caught by the wicket-keeper off a leg glance from the medium pace bowling of Alex Haverson, who went on to claim 5 for 33 from 12 overs as H&L’s resistance waned.
Wily slow bowler Andy Thompson got in on the act with 3 for 11 as proceedings were brought to a premature halt. Brief resistance from Mark Stewart (12) and Josh Pitcher (18) only delayed the inevitable before H&L were put out of their misery. They had slumped from 51 for 2 in eight overs to 113 all out in 28 overs.
This weekend H&L entertain high-flying Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers.