Last year’s runners-up no match for promoted Diss
Not many people would have expected Diss to get the better of Cromer when their season got under way on Saturday.
After all, Cromer finished runners-up in the Cecil Amey Norfolk Cricket Alliance Premier Division last term and strengthened their playing options over the winter with some experienced additions.
Diss, meanwhile, were playing in Division One after their 2016 relegation, though they secured promotion at the first time of asking.
Nevertheless, Mark Williamson’s men produced an almost perfect performance to get off to a winning start, with the previous week’s intended curtain-raiser against Acle falling victim to the wet weather.
Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first at Rectory Meadow, setting an above-par score of 250-7 that their opponents fell some 64 runs short of reaching.
“I would imagine nobody expected us to turn Cromer over,” said the skipper.
“When you look at their recruitment and how impressive they were last season, most people would have backed them to beat us.
“But we were as close to perfect as you can be with bat and ball.
“I chose to bat first and would have been happy with around 200 when looking at the pitch, but we got 250 and that was brilliant.
“We then bowled superbly and really tied them down in the first 10 to 12 overs.
“From that point they were always chasing and we did not let up.”
After Williamson (16), Mark Brawn (8) and Chris Cooper (13) had departed early, Robert Tooke came to the crease and continued where he had left off from last season, playing several expansive strokes and combining well with brother David Tooke.
The pair stabilised the Diss innings and guided past the 100 mark, until David Tooke was caught off Robert Purton (4-49) for a well-made 36.
Lewis Taylor (0) fell next ball to Purton, and Diss seemed to be wobbling again at 126-5.
New overseas Eli Meenhorst demonstrated his intent, launching Purton for a maximum early into his innings, and helped to rotate the strike with Robert Tooke, who passed his first 50 of the season.
Meenhorst fell for 13, and Sam Hunt (2) was unable to assist Robert Tooke.
However, a crucial unbroken partnership of 69 between Daniel Taylor (21 no) and Robert Tooke steered Diss to a commanding total of 250-7, with the main man ending up seven runs short of a century.
In reply Diss knew a good start would pay dividends, and they made just that when Daniel Taylor (2-26) trapped Frankie Sutton LBW for 1.
Along with opening partner Meenhorst, they restricted the away side to just 15 runs off the first 12 overs of the reply innings.
Matthew Warnes and Purton kept their wickets intact, but were unable to turn the game strongly in Cromer’s favour, and the pressure told when Cooper bowled Purton for 27.
Warnes (27) and Richard Charlwood (5) fell in quick succession to Williamson and Cooper, thanks to excellent work behind the stumps from Lewis Taylor.
Next the dangerous David Turner (5) also fell to Williamson, leaving the away side on the brink at 75-5.
A 32-run partnership between Lawrence and Laws prevented a complete collapse, but tight bowling from Sam Hunt (0-20) in particular ensured Cromer could not find a way back into the game.
Nat Laws became Meenhorst’s first victim of the season as he was caught behind for 10, and shortly after Meenhorst (2-23) bowled Davies for 0.
Andrew Lawrence (50) and Warnes (30) guided Cromer to a respectable total, before both fell in quick succession, and Williamson (4-51) completed a four-wicket hall by trapping James Craske (5) LBW, dismissing Cromer for 186 and sealing an impressive victory for Diss.
Tomorrow Diss make the short trip to Garboldisham (12pm).