Monday, July 22, 2024

Cricket: Belhus broadly happy with Norfolk tour

Vauxhall Mallards 177-7
Belhus 181-4

The weather eventually relented to allow Belhus to start their tenth annual tour of Norfolk. With the unwelcome rainwater abound, which put paid to the tourists’ first match at Norwich CC and reduced this event to a twenty overs per side bash, it was most appropriate that the initial tour hosts were named after a breed of duck. But make no mistake, these Mallards are of champion stock, having won the East Anglian Premier League on no fewer than five occasions in the last thirteen years. Luke Clements (0-23) bowled the first ball of the 2012 tour and his opening strike partner, Charlie Lewis (1-27), went for 50 runs between them in the opening four overs. But Clements was on hand, literally, in the field as he snared three vital catches. He picked up opener Brown and number four batsman Free off the bowling of John Lewis (2-28) for 34 and 18 respectively and picked up a third catch when Bist, batting in the middle order, became the third Mallard to hole out to Clements off Roy Heffernan (2-35). Bist went for 16. Martin Guilbert was also amongst the wickets for Belhus, his four over spell as fourth change bowler yielded 2-42. Ledshall, who opened the Ducks’ innings with Brown, contributed 30 in the runfest.

Undeterred, Belhus opening batsmen Kurt Whisker and Danny Joyce both scored at more than a run per ball as they put on 131 in a superb start. Whisker was eventually stumped off the bowling of Ledshall for a fine 59, while Joyce struck a magnificent 68 from just 46 balls, an innings which was to prove to be one of several highlights of this successful tour. Joe Joyce recorded a rare third ball failure, bowled by a Duck (Ledshall) for a duck. But Stewart Farr and Charlie Lewis combined for a match-winning unbroken partnership for the fifth wicket as Belhus reached their target with just one ball remaining. Farr finished not out 12 from eight deliveries but the hero of the piece was undoubtedly Lewis, who smashed 27, also from just eight balls faced. For the Ducks, Ledshall finished with 2-31 from 2.5 overs while Potger picked up 2-22 from three overs.

Belhus 212-8
Happisburgh 188-9

Only the gathering of storm clouds threatened this peaceful idyll on the north east Norfolk coast. It may have alarmed the crows atop the fifteenth-century church of St Mary’s, which gracefully overlooks the ground from its mounded vantage, but Belhus feared not. In a match reduced to 32 overs per side, Luke Clements accepted his captain’s offer to open the innings and with gusto he certainly did. 49 runs from just 38 balls saw the tourists on their way. Michael Cansdale hit 37 from just eighteen deliveries while Roy Heffernan was more productive and measured, his 46 runs came from 45 deliveries. Tom Thompson and Richard Day hit a dozen runs apiece, Brian Edwards nudged double figures with ten but it was Michael Fogg with 27 not out from just 15 balls who ended the tourists’ innings with a flurry. For the hosts, Dennis claimed 2-44 from five overs (one maiden) while Wilson, Peck and Howe picked up one wicket each.

After Belhus matchday captain Jim Robertson sensibly declared his innings closed 2.3 overs short of the expected close due to rain, Happisburgh (pronounced haze-bruh) began to close in on the tourist total. As did the weather. Batsman Catch was caught in front of the wheat field boundary at extra cover for 45 while Breeze did not block much but fell to the first of two catches by Clements at deep mid-on, who took his outfield catch tally to five in two outings. Danny Joyce proved he was no masquerader when he accepted the offer of the new ball. Steaming in from the sea end, Joyce picked up three wickets from 9.2 overs and kept the lid on the home response. Cliff Cansdale picked up 2-45 and Roy Heffernan 2-16, while Brian Edwards’ leg-spin produced 1-36 as well as pouching two solid catches at first slip. Two wins in two for Belhus, this by a margin of 24 runs. The crows settled for the tower, the tourists settled for the bar.

Belhus 229-9
Mattishall 180 all out

After the early loss of Martin Guilbert without score, Joe Joyce and Richard Day put Belhus in the driving seat in a dominant 80-run second wicket partnership. Joyce hit 57 from just 48 deliveries but Day went on to score 68 from 75 balls faced. There were more significant contributions. Barry Ruck hit 30 and featured in a 68-run pairing with Day for the third wicket, but there was a mini-collapse in the middle order as Michael Fogg and Stewart Farr were both stumped on 16 and 5 respectively. Richard Marns, in a rare playing appearance, was bowled without score, but Kurt Whisker steadied the ship with 18 not out and Danny Joyce baked a dozen. For Mattishall, Daniel Weber was the pick of the attack with 4-29 from seven overs (one maiden) and Vargeson snapped up 2-26 from five.

Belhus employed nine bowlers in a tour finale, with the party being headed up by sixth change Guilbert. He put his batting disappointment behind him to mop up the Mattishall tail with three wickets for just eighteen runs in 3.4 overs, one of which was maiden. Danny Joyce had retained his opening bowling spot, this time he picked up 2-20 from five overs. Ruck became the third Belhus bowler to pick up a brace, with an expense of 23 runs inside five overs. Fogg picked up the remaining wicket. The hosts’ number seven batsman, Smith, was the most productive with 31 until he was caught by Fogg off Ruck, while Bingham and C. Weber both made 29.

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