Hales & Loddon (70) lost to Diss A (73-2) by eight wickets in Norfolk Alliance Division Six.
Hales & Loddon suffered an Epsom Derby day Diss-aster as they suffered their first defeat since the opening day of the season. They were outplayed with bat and ball by a buoyant Diss A side who proved good value for a surprise eight-wicket success which brought H&L’s three-match winning run juddering to a halt.
H&L suffered their first setback when skipper Josh Pitcher lost the toss and was put into bat on a pitch, which, softened by overnight rain, looked sure to favour the bowlers in the early stages. Despite this openers Isaac Rolph and Milton Lindsay started brightly enough, unleashing a succession of positive shots. However both were to become victims of their own overconfidence as they fell victim to medium-pacer Amir Qureshi on a pitch playing low and slow.
Rolph was the first to fall for eight, as he attempted to pull a delivery and was hit on the back pad, leaving the umpire with a straightforward decision. Lindsay followed for 10, bowled through the gate after an ill-advised attempt at a cut. As the Diss bowlers grew in confidence a steady procession of batsmen back to the Rectory Meadow pavilion ensued. Jack Cook (11) was the only other double-figure contributor as the carnage produced four ducks. A commmon feature of the dismissals was a tendency for the batsmen to look for the big shots when a more circumspect approach was called for.
H&L desperately needed someone to dig in if they were to give their bowlers a total to defend. Vice-captain Jon Andrews did his best to fill the anchor role but his resistance was ended on 11, clean bowled by a nip back ball from nagging left-armer Jody Sparrow. The visitors were finally put out of their misery in the 30th over with the total on a meagre 70 – and tellingly extras the top scorer on 22.
An all-round tidy performance from the Diss bowlers was headed by Sparrow, who returned 4 for 13 from seven disciplined overs, while veteran Andy Gregory claimed 3 for 12 from 4.3 overs, before having to withdraw from the attack with a leg injury. Qureshi claimed 2 for 15 from six overs of neat medium pace.
H&L desperately needed an early breakthrough with the ball but Diss openers Lewis Taylor and James Skilleter were in no mood to hang about and, aided by some loose bowling, quickly built the platform need for victory. Pitcher varied his bowling options to no avail until Mark Stewart claimed a wicket with his first ball as the unorthodox Skilleter was confidently pouched by Tim Outlaw at mid-off for 14. Richard Cook picked up the other wicket, bowling Andrew Horobin for 6. But freescoring left-hander Lewis Taylor continued unperturbed and was 32 not out when victory was duly achieved in the 12th over.
H&L were able to reflect on their shortcomings over tea as the Epsom Classic played out on the clubhouse TV.