Stephan Marillier produced more big-hitting heroics to help Horsford to a thumping 162-run victory that eased any fears they might have had of being dragged into the relegation zone.

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The Zimbabwe-born batsman hit the headlines earlier in the summer when he smashed an astonishing 28-ball century for his club in the Norfolk Twenty20 competition.

And he gave another scintillating display of attacking stroke play at the weekend, scoring 189 off just 121 balls as Horsford comfortably saw off the challenge of a Bury St Edmunds side who had started the day just below them in the table.

Marillier put on 100 for the third wicket with opener Nathan Perry-Warnes (39) and then really went to town in a fourth wicket partnership with Robbie Brigstock, scoring 123 of the 147 runs they put on together. His memorable knock included no fewer than 13 sixes, with all but 35 of his runs coming in boundaries, and meant Horsford were able to declare on 311-7. The bowlers then completed a thoroughly convincing performance as they dismissed Bury for 149, with Caleb Futter posting impressive figures of 5-37 and skipper Chris Brown and fellow Norfolk player Ben France weighing in with two wickets apiece.

The result also provided a boost for Vauxhall Mallards who were able to move off the foot of the table at Bury’s expense courtesy of a fine victory of their own at Saffron Walden. The hosts slumped from 108-3 to 133 all out as Paul Bradshaw claimed four wickets for 13 runs in 12 overs to set the game up nicely for the Mallards’ batsmen. And they didn’t disappoint, getting home by six 
wickets thanks largely to an unbeaten 61 from opener David Turner.

Great Witchingham kept their slim chances of title glory alive when they returned from Woolpit with a solid seven-wicket victory.

The hosts were dismissed for 210, Carl Rogers taking 3-34, and it soon became apparent that it would not be enough. The Witches calmly chased down their target, with an unbroken partnership of 111 between James Hale (74) and Brenton McDonald (65) seeing them home, to close the gap on inactive leaders Swardeston to 65 points. With both teams having just five games left to play that’s still a big advantage for the defending champions – but their next match is against the Witches at Walcis Park – so the title battle is still alive.

Norwich remain second, 53 points adrift of Swardeston, but they have played one more game and missed a chance to put some pressure on when they were held to a draw by Cambridge Granta at Ingham.

An exciting game could have gone either way, with Granta finishing on 290-9 chasing the home side’s daunting total of 300-8 declared. Norwich’s score was built round an unbeaten 101 from Sanjay Mishra which included six fours and six sixes, with Dominic Matarazzo (67) and Ashley Watson (50) also making important contributions. The visitors got mighty close to claiming a famous win – but in the end they fell 11 runs short with just one wicket in hand.

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