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Swardeston win again in EAPL while Sudbury lose - but it’s still out of their hands

PUBLISHED: 09:31 03 September 2018

Swardeston wicket-keeper/batsman Stephen Gray gets down on one knee to take the attack to Great Witchingham on Saturday Picture: TIM FERLEY

Swardeston wicket-keeper/batsman Stephen Gray gets down on one knee to take the attack to Great Witchingham on Saturday Picture: TIM FERLEY

Archant

It was another excellent weekend for Swardeston in the East Anglian Premier League - but the destination of the title remains frustratingly out of their hands.

Joe Gatting’s side recorded a comfortable seven wicket win over Great Witchingham at The Common on Saturday to maintain their impressive form while leaders Sudbury suffered a second successive defeat at Mildenhall.

The defending champions did, however, pick up five bonus points for their efforts and that was enough to keep them a single point clear at the top with just two matches left to play. It all means Swardeston still need another slip-up from their rivals, with the defending champions knowing two wins would guarantee them back-to-back titles.

Those two fixtures are both at home to struggling teams, against first Cambridge Granta and then Norwich, while their challengers will play Vauxhall Mallards away and Horsford at home in the knowledge that stretching their winning run to eight games might still not be enough to finish top.

Gatting won an important toss on Saturday and asked Witchingham to bat first on a slow, slightly damp wicket which made it difficult to get the ball away.

Sam Arthurton and James Spelman knuckled down to put on 46 for the first wicket before Arthurton was bowled by Mark Thomas for 21. Mike Jones joined Spelman at the crease and the pair continued the solid work with an excellent partnership of 122 which was finally ended when Spelman was caught by Jordan Taylor off the bowling of Peter Lambert for 60, an innings containing three fours and two sixes.

Matthew Long went quickly and when Jones was bowled by Callum Taylor for 63 (five fours and two sixes) Witchingham collapsed from 191-3 to 206 all out, with Callum Taylor, Gatting and Peter Lambert all ending up with three wickets.

Brothers Callum and Jordan Taylor got Swardeston off to a steady start in reply before Callum was caught by Will Means off the bowling of Brett Stolworthy for 19. Stephen Gray and Jordan Taylor then took the game by the scruff of the neck, adding 107 at a good rate before Gray was bowled by Andy Hanby for 60. Taylor was eventually caught low down by Arthurton off the bowling of Jones for a fine 72 that included 10 fours and a six but Gatting and Lambert then saw the hosts home with a minimum of fuss in the 43rd over.

Norwich remain 12 points adrift at the foot of the EAPL despite finally getting back to winning ways at the weekend.

Ashley Watson’s side saw off Burwell and Exning by 128 runs at Postwick after bowling them out for just 60, but rivals Bury St Edmunds made it five wins by beating Copdock to retain a useful advantage going into the final two games.

Chris Borrett top scored for the hosts with 42 in a total of 188-9 that also featured useful knocks from Jack Newby (35) and Will O’Donnell (28) and an unbroken 10th wicket stand of 34 between Aaron Watson and Max Goodrum. Burwell got nowhere near their target as Ashley Watson returned the outstanding figures of 9.1-5-10-4.

Horsford took the derby honours against Vauxhall Mallards at Horsford, chasing down 190-5 inside 30 overs for the loss of just three wickets, with Chad Bowes making 104 in 80 balls and Luke Findlay 60. Ben France and Nic Smit made half centuries for the visitors.

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