Wash-out means Horsford avoid relegation

PUBLISHED: 21:38 11 September 2016 | UPDATED: 21:38 11 September 2016

Joe Gatting reached three figures for Swardeston. Picture: Rob Colman

Joe Gatting reached three figures for Swardeston. Picture: Rob Colman

copyright 2016: Rob Colman Tel: 07905093569. No Syndication.

Rain ruled out the possibility of an exciting finish to the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League season at the weekend – but Horsford weren’t complaining.

Ryan Findlay’s side were still not safe from relegation going into the final day of a disappointing campaign, with bottom side Woolpit still capable of overtaking their fellow strugglers.

Adding spice to the relegation battle was the fact the two sides were due to meet at Manor Park at the weekend but as it turned out the match never got under way, with heavy morning rain and further drizzle in the afternoon meaning both sides had to settle for seven points,

That meant Horsford finished the day where they started it, 23 points clear of Woolpit, ensuring they can start planning for another season in the EAPL while their second team, who were Norfolk Alliance Division One champions, can now claim their rightful place in the top flight.

The call-off was also good news for six runners-up in the Alliance – Acle, Vauxhall Mallards A, Swaffham, North Runcton A, Beccles A and Happisburgh – who are all now clear to take a step up the ladder.

Great Witchingham finished the EAPL season third from bottom, five points clear of Horsford, after their match with Vauxhall Mallards at Walcis Park was also abandoned without a ball being bowled, but there was a full game in the other Norfolk fixture at Postwick, just eight miles from Manor Park, where Norwich entertained Sudbury.

The hosts posted an all-out total of 221 in 50.1 overs, with a seventh wicket partnership of 91 between Sanjay Mishra (67) and Jason Blake (42) enabling them to set a decent target.

As it turned out the extra runs didn’t matter as Sudbury succumbed for just 90 in 25.3 overs, with the Watson brothers doing most of the damage.

Skipper Ashley weighed in with 4-19 while Aaron took 4-33 to guide their side to a comprehensive win that secured a fourth place finish, just above Mallards.

Champions Swardeston suffered a rare defeat on the final day, going down by two wickets at Frinton after declaring on 293-7 after 44 overs.

With half an eye on next Sunday’s Royal London Club Championship final against South Northumberland in Northampton, Swardeston made one or two changes to their side, while their batting order also had an unfamiliar look to it.

Peter Lambert and Joe Gatting ended up going in at seven and eight respectively and put on a swift 134 to get their side up close to 300 after they had slipped to 135-6.

Gatting made 79 off just 41 balls and Lambert an unbeaten 50 in 42, while regular opener Jordan Taylor smashed a quick unbeaten 19 from No 9.

Frinton responded in impressive fashion and got home in the 57th over, with Tom Benn still there at the end on 82. Matthew Taylor continued his recent fine form with the ball, taking 4-32.

Swardeston finished the season with an impressive tally of 448 points, 109 more than their nearest rivals Cambridge Granta, with Copdock finishing third.

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