Day of mixed emotions for Swardeston

Mark Thomas' assertion that the title would be neither won nor lost in Saturday's top two encounter proved absolutely correct as Bury and Swardeston battled out a draw.

Mark Thomas' assertion that the title would be neither won nor lost in Saturday's top two encounter proved absolutely correct as Bury and Swardeston battled out a draw.

But, while the Swardeston skipper will doubtlessly be pleased to have maintained the 11-point gap between his team, he may well reflect ruefully on a game the Norfolk side came within a whisker of winning.

Swardeston batted first in a game shortened slightly by heavy showers in the morning.

In the absence of Will Rist, Daniel Martin was called up from the second team to open the batting with Loyala Herathge and the pair gave the innings a solid foundation with a stand of 39.


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After Herathge's departure, another call-up, Darin Goodrum, contributed a useful 20, but the innings then faltered as Jaden Hatwell, Richard Sims and Brian Murphy all fell cheaply.

Martin's determined resistance came to an end as he was the seventh wicket to fall, with the score on 150, having made 42. Swardeston's lower order added some vital runs before they were all out for 192 in the 55th over, with Ben France claiming four wickets.

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Michael Eccles removed France early in the Bury reply, but the hosts moved relatively smoothly towards their target and with 20 overs remaining, they needed 102 runs with eight wickets intact.

Spinner George Walker applied the brakes and the wickets began to tumble as Bury pursued victory.

Walker claimed three victims, while there were two for Hatwell and another one for Eccles as the home side fell away to 164 for seven. There were two run outs in the closing stages, one off the final ball of the innings, as Swardeston just failed to wrap up victory, Bury closing on 174 for nine.

In the equally crucial clash between bottom two Horsford and Fakenham, leg spinner Chris Brown found the conditions at Manor Park to his liking as he picked up eight wickets in Horsford's victory.

The home team batted first and were given a good start by openers Matt Wilkinson and Nathan Perry-Warnes, as they added 57 for the first wicket.

Duminda Perera made 27 and Jaik Mickleburgh top scored with 35 and although three wickets fell with the score on 133, Paul Newman hit 18 to swell the final total up to 173.

It was soon clear that score would be plenty as Brown single-handedly destroyed the Fakenham innings, reducing them to 19 for six, including the key wicket of skipper Michael Smith for one.

Horsford were held up briefly by the lower order, but Perera got in on the act with two wickets and Brown wrapped up proceedings to return remarkable figures of eight for 29 from 17.5 overs.

Nick Barry was unbeaten on 17 in Fakenham's final total of 65, but it is back to the drawing board for the bottom club after yet again being bowled out for under 100.

Great Witchingham remain third after drawing at Clacton in another reduced overs game.

Witchingham batted first and in the tricky conditions, openers Carl Rogers and James Spelman were happy to play patiently and build a respectable total.

The Norfolk duo put on 171 for the first wicket, with Rogers hitting 88 and Spelman unbeaten on 69 as Witchingham closed on 180 for one from 47 overs.

Lance Shaw took an early wicket in the Clacton innings and Rogers stifled the run chase with three more. There were also a couple of run outs as Clacton tried desperately to reach their target, before closing 12 runs short of victory on 169 for six.

Vauxhall Mallards' disappointing league campaign continued as they slumped to a 32-run defeat at Godmanchester.

Rob Frylinck struck twice early on as Godmanchester batted first and there was also a brace of victims for Martin Addison. Skipper Paul Bradshaw introduced himself into the attack later than normal, but he removed top scorer Oliver Huggins for 40 and took three more wickets as the hosts struggled to 124 for nine from 49 overs.

Mallards did not find batting any easier and the early dismissals of Carl Amos, Rob Purton and Scott Robinson left them on eight for three.

Peter Free and Frylinck added 40 for the fourth wicket, but after they went, Mallards never mounted a serious challenge on their target and they were bowled out for just 92.

Norwich's game against Cambridge Granta at Ingham was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

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