East Anglian Premier League: Stephen Gray fires a century as Swardeston defeat Horsford

Monday, June 4, 2012
5:57 AM

Swardeston were triumphant in a thrilling finish at Horsford as Norfolk captain George Walker held his nerve in a last over showdown against county coach Chris Brown.

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The visitors needed 10 to win from the last over, and Walker dispatched Brown’s first delivery for four before seeing Swardeston home with a ball to spare, alongside unbeaten centurion Stephen Gray (114no).

Horsford chose to bat first but were struggling on 84 for four, despite steady contributions from Matthew Spenceley (30) and Jaik Mickleburgh (38).

Chris Sabburg (61) and Luke Caswell (38) then put on 78 for the fifth wicket before New Zealander Michael Parlane grabbed the crucial wicket of Australian Sabburg.

Horsford lost four wickets in quick succession at the death to finish on 214 for nine, with Michael Eccles picking up three for 51.

Both Swardeston openers were dismissed cheaply before Gray and Peter Lambert (44) added 90 for the third wicket.

After Lambert was dismissed by James Wild, Brown claimed three wickets to leave Swardeston needing 50 from the last eight overs.

Walker (24no) joined Gray – who reached his 100 from 138 balls – and the pair saw Swardeston home, with Gray’s innings including 11 fours and two sixes.

Great Witchingham once again had to settle for a draw as they were unable to polish off the Sudbury tail at Walcis Park.

The Witches’ in-form top three of skipper James Spelman (73), Carl Rogers (59) and Sam Arthurton (89no) again featured strongly as the hosts posted 284 for four from 63 overs, with Shaun Arthurton adding 42.

The Spelman brothers, James and Jonathan, each claimed an early wicket to remove the Sudbury openers, but from there it was a war of attrition for the Witches attack as they were frustrated by visiting skipper Darren Batch (47) and Kandage Fernando (61).

Spinners James Hale (four for 79) and Rogers (two for 24) reduced the Suffolk side to nine wickets down, but Witchingham were foiled by the last wicket pair as Sudbury closed on 238 for nine from their 58 overs.

It was the opposite story for Vauxhall Mallards as a middle order collapse left them hanging on for a draw at home to Saffron Walden.

Half-centuries from Andy Laws (55), Glen Batticciotto (87) and Simon Parmenter (51) helped Walden reach 267 all out in the 65th over.

South African Christiaan Schoeman dismissed Batticciotto and then mopped up the tail to finish with figures of four for 61. Fellow spinner Stuart Lipshaw also claimed three middle order victims.

Mallards reached 49 for one in reply, before losing five wickets for the addition of just 16 more runs, with opener Carl Amos (37) the sixth man out.

Skipper Paul Bradshaw led a lower order fightback and he remained undefeated on 73 as Mallards survived to the close on 172 for nine.

Elsewhere, West Indian Marlon Richards took five wickets in Burwell’s 162-run win at home to Bury.

Stefanus Gericke hit 91no to secure a draw for Clacton at Cambridge Granta and centuries from Archie Gravell (110) and Martyn Cull (100) set up Copdock & Old Ipswichian’s 118-run win at Halstead.

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