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EAPL round-up: Horsford left to rue punishment as they drop to bottom of the table

PUBLISHED: 05:41 21 August 2017

Great Witchingham skipper Sam Arthurton in full flow during Saturday's EAPL clash with Burwell. Picture: Tim Ferley

Great Witchingham skipper Sam Arthurton in full flow during Saturday's EAPL clash with Burwell. Picture: Tim Ferley

Archant

The spectre of a substandard pitch, coupled with poor form, costing Horsford their place in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League loomed larger than ever at the weekend when they slipped to the bottom of the table.

A comprehensive eight-wicket defeat against Norwich saw Ryan Findlay’s side drop four points below long-time strugglers Bury St Edmunds, who gave their survival hopes a tremendous boost by beating defending champions Swardeston.

Had Horsford not been deducted 30 points for the early abandonment of last month’s home game against Copdock they would have still have had a little breathing space heading into the final four games.

But now they know they must get back to winning ways quickly to stand a realistic chance of staying up, with next Saturday’s clash with mid-table Mildenhall at Manor Park providing a realistic opportunity to do just that.

Findlay won the toss and elected to bat first at Ingham but Horsford struggled and needed a gritty last wicket stand of 31 between Kieron Peters, who faced 76 balls for his 16, and Thomas Nudd just to get up to 111. Opener Jonathan Crowe top scored with 21, while numbers two to seven managed just 18 between them, with three of them not troubling the scorers.

An impressive Norwich batting effort was led by Dom Mirner’s 5-21, with skipper Ashley Watson’s providing excellent support, taking 2-13 from his full allocation.

Norwich then just needed to bat sensibly to ensure maximum points, and keep themselves well above the danger zone, and they did just that to get home in 37 overs. Will O’Donnell was there at the end on 51 while opener Oli Higenbottam contributed 43.

The Horsford players’ mood at the end would not have improved when news of Bury’s surprise three wicket win over Swardeston at The Victory Ground filtered through.

After being put into bat the visitors had to work hard to get up to 200 in the 49th over, with Peter Lambert contributing a hard-hitting 36 early on and Lewis Denmark backing that up with 37.

In reply Bury appeared to be cruising home at 126-2 before a run of wickets saw them slip to 161-7, but an unbroken seventh wicket partnership between James Sturgeon and Luke du Plooy then saw them home.

Michael Eccles was the most successful Swardeston bowler, taking 3-18.

Mark Thomas’ side are now 21 points behind Sudbury, who recorded an impressive eight-wicket win at Suffolk rivals Copdock, after bowling them out for just 157. Both sides are at home next weekend, with Sudbury hosting Frinton and Swardeston entertaining Copdock.

Great Witchingham’s outside title hopes suffered a potentially fatal blow when they were beaten in a rain-affected match at Walcis Park.

The Witches went down by seven wickets against Burwell, with a second successive defeat leaving them 38 points behind leaders Sudbury.

After being put into bat Witchingham did well to get up to 246-8 in their 50 overs, with James Hale making 60 and Sam Arthurton following up his match-winning century for Norfolk on Tuesday with 50.

Burwell’s reply was twice interrupted by rain, meaning their revised Duckworth Lewis target was 211 in 41 overs.

They ended up getting home with four overs to spare thanks to a superb knock from opener Joe Tetley, who was undefeated on 103 from 109 balls at the end.

It was ironic that having lost nine overs to the rain the game ended in good sunlight shortly after 6.30pm, when conditions were perfect for it to have gone the full distance.

Vauxhall Mallards returned home from Cambridge Granta with just two points for their efforts after being beaten by six wickets.

Despite a second wicket partnership of 65 between Mitchell Todd (40) and skipper Ali Shearer (42) the Ducks could only make 146, a total the hosts chased down in 42 overs, with Jonathan Atkinson unbeaten on 55.

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