Arthurton stars as Witches see off leaders Swardeston

East Anglian Premier League cricket Swardeston ( batting ) against Great Witchingham. Photo:Steve Ad

East Anglian Premier League cricket Swardeston ( batting ) against Great Witchingham. Photo:Steve Adams

Swardeston's advantage at the top of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League was cut to a single point on Saturday when they slid to a home defeat at the hands of a Sam Arthurton-inspired Great Witchingham.

The Norfolk opener made an impressive unbeaten century at The Common as the Witches chased down the defending champions' modest total of 223 all out for the loss of five wickets.

With Woolpit drawing a rain-affected game against Horsford at Manor Park, Swardeston's nearest challengers are now Copdock and Ipswichian, who notched up a bumper haul of points as they cruised to a 144-run victory against a struggling Norwich side.

Having been asked to bat on an overcast morning, Swardeston were in real trouble when they slipped to 112 for seven, and it took a fine eighth wicket stand of 82 between Jeremy Elliott and Mark Thomas to get them up to something respectable.

Elliott made 43 before the partnership was broken while Thomas went on to reach 68 at just under a run a ball.

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James Hale and Johannes Diseko had starred with the ball for the Witches with three wickets apiece - and the main man with the bat was undoubtedly Arthurton, who shrugged off the early loss of opening partner James Spelman to dominate the reply.

A second wicket stand of 93 with James Hale (57) repaired the damage and the Norfolk man was still there at the end with 107 to his name as the visitors finished on 224 for five.

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Norwich were always struggling at Postwick, with their decision to bowl first backfiring as Copdock made 250, with Martyn Cull and Tom Rash both registering half centuries.

Aaron Watson's figures of 5-59 were a positive for the hosts – but there was little to enthuse about when they started batting, with Andrew McGeorge's unbeaten 30 the top score as they were bowled out for just 106.

At Manor Park, Horsford recovered from 99 for six to reach 199 for eight in their 64 overs, with Ryan Findlay's 53 helping them set a decent target.

Norfolk skipper Chris Brown took 4-51 as Woolpit struggled in reply but the rain came just as it was getting interesting, with the visitors finishing on 114 for seven off 41 overs.

Vauxhall Mallards' encouraging run came to a halt when they were beaten by 84 runs at Burwell.

Peter Richer made 86 and Barrie Forrester-Smith 72 not out as the home side posted a challenging target of 266 for six and sadly Mallards were not up to the task.

Matt Plater (46) and Mitchell Todd (35) put on 81 for the first wicket but it was downhill all the way from there on in, with the visitors being dismissed for 182 in the 34th over. Alex Sears was the star man for Burwell, taking 5-18.

It was a day when the five Norfolk sides were fortunate to avoid the worst of the weather, with the two other games at Frinton and Cambridge Granta being abandoned.

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