CRICKET: Downham Stow were crowned Norfolk Alliance champions in nail-biting fashion.
They did all they could do, grabbing maximum points from a 65-run win at Acle.
However, they also needed neighbours North Runcton to restrict morning leaders Fakenham to seven points or fewer to overhaul them at the top of the table.
It could not have been closer with Fakenham chalking up eight points to see the teams finish level on 289 points after a dramatic finale to their encounter at New Road.
Fakenham had the bonus point advantage but it was wins that were the deciding factor and the West Norfolk side had one more than their rivals to snatch the title at the death.
Downham Stow’s top order was in fine form with Fergus Lellman (73) and Pat Yates (67no) scoring well in a 117-run third-wicket partnership after Keith Thomson (54) and Will Denny (39) had shared an opening stand of 87.
The visitors posted 297/4 from their 50 overs and set about gathering maximum bowling points. They did that with just 14 balls to spare, ousting Acle for 242 with Jamie Cook (4-51) and Otto Esse (3-35) their chief wicket takers.
Meanwhile, back in the west of the county, North Runcton were thwarting Fakenham’s title ambitions.
Kirwin Christoffels and Michael Crisp provided an opening partnership of 44 with Ben Skipper joining Christoffels to take the score to 100. Allen Tomas & Co Financial Management man of the match Christoffels went for a classy 68 off 90 balls and a late boost to the score came from Ben Coote (55) and William Means (24no) with 42 as the innings closed at 234/7.
Fakenham were immediately in trouble in reply when they lost Ben Harvey for a single off Christoffels (4-25), the first of the four top-five victims he claimed.
Fakenham looked doomed at 24/4, 47/5, 94/6 and then 95/7, however, Paul Lough and John Ewart had a different agenda and took the score to 168 before Ewart was lbw to Christoffels for 87.
Captain Ben Coote dismissed Ash Layer with the score at 176/9 but Lough and captain David Coyle took the score to 221/9 with just one over remaining.
Coyle hit four off the first ball followed by a single. Lough took a two and a wide gave them one more. Lough managed a single and Coyle added another.
Lough needed a four off the final ball for victory but Coote beat his bat and wicketkeeper Tom Tansley had the simple task of running him out for 44.
That left Fakenham just three runs short of what would have been a title-winning tie, sparking celebrations for Downham Stow after a remarkable last day of the season.