A devastating spell from Swardeston skipper Mark Thomas paved the way for a four-wicket win at Vauxhall Mallards in Saturday’s top two showdown.

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Thomas claimed six wickets as Mallards were reduced from 123 for two to 187 all out, before Norfolk wicketkeeper Stephen Gray hit 86 to steer Swardeston towards victory.

Mallards opted to bat first and after an early rain break, openers Carl Amos and David Turner provided a solid platform with a stand of 61.

Thomas made the breakthrough by having Amos caught behind for 37 and Turner was then trapped lbw by George Walker for 31.

Matthew Plater and Christiaan Schoemann appeared to be steering Mallards towards a competitive total, but when Plater was bowled by Thomas for 23, Swardeston began to exert control over proceedings.

Schoemann apart, none of the other Mallards batsmen reached double figures with Thomas’ next three victims all given out lbw.

Michael Eccles claimed two late wickets and although last man Martin Addison provided some support for Schoemann, the South African was the last man out, dismissed by Thomas for 62 from 71 balls, including 10 fours and a six.

Thomas finished with figures of six for 51 as Mallards were all out in the 56th over.

The Swardeston reply started badly as New Zealander Michael Parlane became the fifth of eight lbw victims on the day without a run on the board.

Jordan Taylor (29) and Gray added 67 for the second wicket, while the Swardeston middle order did just enough to support the efforts of Gray. The wicketkeeper was fifth man out with 34 still needed, having faced 124 balls and hit nine fours and four sixes.

Jeremy Elliott fell with eight runs still needed, but Swardeston wrapped up their win in the 51st over to move 26 points clear at the top.

In the day’s other Norfolk derby, Great Witchingham drew yet again in a lacklustre finish at Horsford.

Both sides were without their leading runscorers, as Horsford’s Jaik Mickleburgh and Witchingham’s Sam Arthurton were playing for Essex’s second XI in the Twenty20 finals day at Arundel.

The hosts chose to bat first and opener Matthew Spenceley contributed a steady 45. James Wild added 38, but when he was out, Horsford were struggling on 118 for five.

Matthew Wilkinson and Michael Warnes guided them out of trouble with a stand of 74, with Wilkinson firing three sixes and three fours in his 68-ball innings of 53. Warnes was run out for 28 as Horsford closed on 202 for eight.

Witchingham’s reply began poorly as they lost their top three with only 32 on the board.

James Hale (22no from 110 balls) and Tom Collishaw (63 from 120 balls) opted for caution as the Witches failed to threaten their target, finishing on 127 for four from their 53 overs – their seventh draw of the campaign.

Elsewhere in the league there were wins for Cambridge Granta, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds, while Copdock & Old Ipswichian drew with Clacton.

• EAPL SCOREBOARD

• Horsford (11 points) drew with Great Witchingham (7) at Manor Park

Horsford: M Spenceley c Allan b JM Spelman 45, N Perry Warnes c S Arthurton snr b JM Spelman 9, C Sabburg lbw JM Spelman 12, J Wild b Rogers 38, L Caswell lbw Rogers 0, M Wilkinson c Groves b Hale 53, M Warnes run out 28, B Watson b Hale 0, C Brown not out 1, D Smith not out 4; extras 12. Total (57 overs, 8 wkts) 202.

Bowling: W Lonsdale 11-2-38-0, JM Spelman 18-4-42-3, C Rogers 18-4-61-2, J Hale 10-0-52-2

Great Witchingham: JM Spelman b Wild 18, C Rogers b Warnes 2, A Goodrum b Brown 5, J Hale not out 22, T Collishaw lbw Wild 63, S Arthurton snr not out 1; extras 16. Total (53 overs, 4 wkts) 127. Bowling: L Caswell 10-2-24-0, MW Warnes 5-3-2-1, C Brown 12-4-18-1, J Wild 11-3-26-2, C Sabburg 9-1-21-0, N Perry-Warnes 2-0-10-0, P Minns 4-2-18-0

• Swardeston (25) beat Vauxhall Mallards (7) by four wickets at Brundall

Vauxhall Mallards: C Amos c Gray b Thomas 37, D Turner lbw Walker 31, M Plater b Thomas 23, C Schoeman c Taylor b Thomas 62, A Shearer lbw Thomas 9, R Goodenough run out (Denmark) 6, S Plater lbw Thomas 0, P Bradshaw lbw Thomas 0, B Stolworthy b Eccles 4, S Lipshaw b Eccles 0, M Addison not out 2; extras 13. Total (55.1 overs) 187. Bowling: M Eccles 18-5-52-2, S Dyer 10-3-21-0, G Walker 10-2-37-1, M Thomas 15.1-3-51-6, M Parlane 2-0-15-0

Swardeston: M Parlane lbw Bradshaw 0, J Taylor lbw Lipshaw 29, S Gray c Schoeman b Lipshaw 86, P Lambert b Lipshaw 18, L Denmark lbw Lipshaw 13, J Elliott lbw Addison 16, G Walker not out 14, I Tufts not out 6; Extras 8. Total (50.5 overs, 6 wkts) 190. Bowling: P Bradshaw 12-4-29-1, M Addison 12-5-26-1, S Lipshaw 13.5-2-62-4, B Stolworthy 4-0-22-0, C Schoeman 7-1-27-0, S Plater 2-0-16-0

• Sudbury 250-6 dec (H Fernando 106, C Rayner 4-52) beat Halstead 143 (T Philp 39, M Hunn 5-43) by 107 runs at Halstead – Sudbury 30pts, Halstead 3

• Bury St Edmunds 113-5 (A Jhunjhunwala 70no, T Smith 3-21) beat Saffron Walden 107 (J Bishop 3-24, A Jhunjhunwala 3-29, T Huggins 3-15) by five wickets at Saffron Walden – Bury St Edmunds 25pts, Saffron Walden 2

• Cambridge Granta 275-5 (C Park 100no, A Fullarton 66, M Richards 3-62) beat Burwell 200 (W Lawton 38no, C Park 3-47) by 75 runs at Clare College – Cambridge Granta 30pts, Burwell 5

• Copdock & Old Ipswichian 206-7 (C Swallow 73, M Cull 70no, G Smith 4-31) drew with Clacton 165-9 (G Brown 49, C Viljoen 3-39, John East 3-35) – Copdock & Old Ipswichian 16pts, Clacton 10

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