Yates opens the floodgates

Hales and Loddon (181-3) beat Topcroft A (86) by 95 runs in Norfolk Alliance Division Six.

Will Yates achieved a once-in-a-lifetime bowling feat as Hales and Loddon crushed Topcroft A to keep the heat on the Norfolk Alliance Division Six pacesetters. The popular postman bagged four wickets in consecutive balls as his special deliveries set the seal on a convincing derby win over the bottom-of-the table outfit.
In a game reduced to 35 overs per side because of rain fears, Yates stamped his mark on proceedings when brought into the attack as third-change bowler by stand-in skipper Jon Andrews. Yates’ first over of slow swing deliveries was tidy enough, as the hosts could only manage two singles. The next over produced a wicket maiden which saw Yates rattle the timber of Harry Taylor, who on 24, was warming to the task of chasing 182 to win.
The fireworks came in Yates’ next over as he mesmerised Graham Talbot, bowled for 20, James Balderston, lbw for a duck, and then bowled Gavin Waters to complete the hat-trick. When next man Harold Van Zalen was clean bowled a jubilant Yates joined the rare club of bowlers with a four-timer against their name. Luke Wheeler arrived at the crease with excitement among the H&L players at fever pitch and when Yates’ next ball arrowed into the tailender’s pads the team rose as one in anticipation but the umpire’s verdict was not out.
Topcroft’s resistance lasted for only 10 balls more as a smart piece of work by Richard Cook saw Wheeler run out for 6 on the third ball of the 25th over. Yates was able to reflect on a 21-ball magic spell which yielded figures of five wickets for a paltry two runs.
While Yates took top billing with the ball, the youthful opening bowling partnership of Ben Turner (1 for 27) and Richard Cook (2 for 19) also played a significant role in proceedings as they sent down 14 overs between them at a cost of only 46 runs, well below the five an over asking rate the hosts needed to build a platform. Mark Stewart, the previous week’s seven-wicket destroyer of Bradfield A, was also in economy mode conceding just 11 runs in his five overs.
Earlier H&L, having been invited to bat, had posted a challenging 181 for 3 total. The batting effort was dominated by Milton Lindsay’s sparkling unbeaten 80, featuring  a series of sweetly- timed drives among his 13 boundaries. Jack Cook (20), Auldwyn Lindsay (29) and Stewart, who hit three towering sixes in his 27, also weighed in as H&L gave Topcroft’s bowling attack scant respite.
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