The 3rds travelled to Fakenham in good heart after the win at Bungay but knowing this was likely to be a sterner test.
We won the toss and fielded first. The Fakenham consisted of 40 overs of tight bowling, good supporting ground fielding and fine catches. The other 6 overs went for over 10 runs apiece and were littered with loose bowling and lackadaisical fielding. It was a strange old innings.
Sunny and Nathan opened the bowling , with Sunny soon accounting for Witwood. Futter and Yarham then batted sensibly but slowly as both bowlers kept it reasonably tight. Neil Forsdick came on from the bottom end and gave a wholehearted display capped with a caught and bowled dismissal of Futter. At the top end Jack Flescher replaced Sunny and generated some decent pace with good control. He bowled Yarham for 42 with a fine yorker and the figures for his opening spell (1 for 9 off 7 overs) reflected his control. In amongst all of this, David Micklewhaite had run out Futter with a superb piece of fielding. Davey’s ground fielding all day ( apart from one late mishap) was of top drawer quality and must have saved us 15-20 runs all told.
Neil’s spell possibly lasted one over too many and the last one was expensive. He was replaced by Nathan at the bottom end and he struggled to replicate his earlier control. Meanwhile, at the top end, the Goon was going at 1 or 2 per over and tying the batsmen up in knots. He bowled Piper, who had taken a liking to Nathan, for 42, and bowled well throughout. Peter Reynolds came on the bottom end to try and stem the flow of runs but bowled a little short to start. He did take one wicket, courtesy of a superb Jon Olpin effort, but the runs continued to flow at that end.
We switched it round for the final 4 overs, bringing Jack back on at the top end and Goon at the bottom end. They bowled well but inevitably went for a few in the end of innings thrash. Fakenham ended on 193 for 8 which all of us considered at least 30 more than should have been the case.
We had a weakish batting line up and so there was a lot of responsibility on Jessup and Olpin who opened. They both rose to the task with a flurry of sweetly hit boundaries. Jessy specialised in the straight drive and whip through mid wicket and Jon was also strong off his legs as well as cutting strongly. These two put on over 100 for the first wicket without giving a chance. When Jessy was out, caught off a long hop, it was a surprise. The jitters started when Jon and Davey fell soon after.
We decided to promote Jack to 5 and he and Tom Snelling put on a vital 50 for the 4th wicket. Tom scored 35 and did well in the face of a lot of verbals after a controversial caught behind appeal was given not out by the umpire. Jack hit some lusty blows in his 21 , ensuring the scoreboard kept ticking. When Tom was out , Jack and Tony Bailey and, then Neil, inched us over the line, although some of the shot making did inspire some incredulity.
This was a great win. Last year the loss at Fakenham ( as well as Downham of course) was up there in terms of ineptitude and it was good to go back there this year and pick up 23 points.