Another thrilling finish for EAPL champions Swardeston

Young Swardeston paceman Tom Oxley in full flight against Bury St Edmunds at The Common. Picture: Ti

Young Swardeston paceman Tom Oxley in full flight against Bury St Edmunds at The Common. Picture: Tim Ferley - Credit: Archant

Swardeston were involved in a thrilling draw for the second weekend running – with the outcome once again up in the air going into the final over.

The switch from 50 over to all day cricket has merely upped the levels of excitement as far as the EAPL champions are concerned, with another nailbiting conclusion at The Common on Saturday.

A week after skipper Mark Thomas blocked out the final five balls for a share of the spoils at Great Withcingham young colleague Matthew Taylor scored a single off the final delivery to secure an equal score draw against Bury St Edmunds, with both sides finishing on 255-8.

The Suffolk side went into the game as big underdogs after opening the campaign with six straight defeats, but they gave a good account of themselves to get up to a competitive total.

Alex Oxley and Daron Cruickshank both scored half centuries to give the visitors a solid base before Mark Nunn provided some late impetus by scoring a quick-fire unbeaten 33.

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In reply Swardeston lost openers Peter Lambert and Jason Reynolds cheaply before Stephen Gray once again took charge, maintaining his impressive run by scoring 103 in 114 balls as Freddie Ruffell (42) and Taylor (29 not out) provided the necessary support.

Sadly for the hosts Gray's superb knock came to an end in the penultimate over, leaving his side requiring three runs to win with just one wicket in hand. Michael Eccles managed a single off the fourth ball of Sean Park's over and, after a dot ball, Taylor steered the ball away for a single to ensure a tremendous game of cricket ended all square.

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Great Witchingham moved to within eight points of Swardeston in third place after cruising to an eight wicket win at Burwell.

The introduction of the Witchingham spin twins Mike Jones and South African Luke Schlemmer changed the game on a very slow wicket, with Burwell slumping from 58-0 to 123 all out as Schlemmer took 5-33 and Jones 5-44. Witchingham lost both Sam Arthurton and James Spelman early on to Cambridgeshire bowler Sam Rippington but James Hale (65 not out) and Schlemmer (50 not out) saw the Witches home with an unbroken partnership of 112.

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