Diss down the leaders
Diss (235-6) maintained their remarkable turnaround this season, winning their fourth Norfolk Cricket Alliance Premier Division match in a row on Saturday, this time at the expense of league-leading Downham Town (197-9) by a 38-run margin.
Home skipper Mark Williamson won the toss and opted to bat on a dry but green pitch.
He opened the batting with Mark Brawn, who lost his off stump in the first over when facing overseas professional Nathan Green.
This brought David Tooke to the crease, and he and Williamson accumulated sensibly.
Both produced numerous drives to the boundary in a partnership of 101, before both fell to the spin of Chris Sharp with Tooke making 44, and the captain making 46.
This left Rob Tooke and Lewis Taylor in and they increased the run rate steadily, with Taylor in particular looking to be the aggressor, hitting the ball over the fence on three occasions on his way to 49 runs off 45 balls.
When he and Jordon Warren fell in quick succession, Tooke put his foot on the accelerator, passing his fourth league half century of the campaign before he perished in the final over for a quite brilliant 72.
A total of 235 at halfway was satisfactory for a home side who boasted an array of threat with the ball in hand.
In reply, Diss knew early wickets would put pressure on the table-toppers and Williamson bowled Angus Stuart for a duck in his first over to kick start the innings.
Seemingly unfazed, Ian Harrison and Jack Gould batted with assurance for the visitors.
The seam attack of Warren, Eli Meenhorst and Daniel Taylor all bowled well without luck, ensuring the run rate was always under control as far as the Rectory Meadow-based outfit were concerned.
It was the introduction of Rob Tooke with the ball that saw the crucial breakthrough, as he bowled Harrison for 44 with the score on 107, and when Williamson had Gould lbw for a well made 51, followed by Tooke bowling the dangerous Addam Todd (1), the match had turned on its head in a mad 10 minutes.
From then on there was no way back for the champions elect.
Despite a decent partnership between Green and Harrison Gregory, once Taylor stumped the former off Tooke and the ever impressive James Hardy had Gregory well caught by Meenhorst, the result of the match was never in doubt.
The experienced spin duo of Williamson and Rob Tooke, along with young left arm finger spinner Hardy, picked up nine wickets between them.
Tooke was the most impressive of that trio with figures of 4-28, while Williamson ended with 4-33.
Reflecting on another triumph for his men, Williamson said: “Downham lost to Acle recently when they were bottom so we knew they were beatable.
“As a team we like batting first and we knew that if we could set 200 or 220 runs, with our bowling attack we would have a big chance.
“Our pace bowlers did not take many wickets, but they crucially kept Downham behind the run rate and the spinners did the business.
“Rob Tooke did really well. He has turned his form around of late and it was key innings with the bat before he took four wickets – it was a crucial performance.”
The win has moved Diss up to sixth in the standings with a return of 198 points.
It has also opened up a gap of 52 points between themselves and the relegation zone with just three matches left to play in the 2018 campaign, the first of which sees them travel to North Runcton, who currently occupy third spot, tomorrow (12pm).