Defeat proves costly for Swardeston

Swardeston's advantage at the top of the East Anglian Premier League was cut from 30 points to just eight following their first defeat of the season.

While the champions were going down by 20 runs to Burwell at The Common, closest rivals Cambridge Granta were winning by four wickets at home to Clacton-on-Sea.

Meanwhile, Vauxhall Mallards, last season's runners-up, won for the first time since the opening day, beating Woolpit at Brundall to revive their hopes.

Horsford's match at Copdock was abandoned after 58 overs in which they had made 188-4 while the weather also left Great Witchingham still searching for their first win following their eighth draw in nine starts. Witchingham's slim consolation as they watched the rain ensure hosts Sudbury never started their assault on their 235-2 declared was that they now fill two of the top four places in the EAPL batting averages.

James Spelman became the first player past the 500-runs mark with 87 while fellow opener Sam Arthurton, who is fourth in the batting charts, made 82. They put on 138 for the first wicket and James Hale (47 not out) helped maintain the momentum to collect eight bonus points.

Stephen Gray is second in the (all Norfolk) batting top four with an average of 57.43 to Norfolk team-mate Spelman's 57.00 after top-scoring with 61 for Swardeston, who had restricted Burwell to 165-6, despite an aggressive knock from Kiran Adhav (78 not out from 92 balls).

Swardeston slipped to 51-4 in reply before Gray and Jeremy Elliott (25) got their victory hunt underway with 62 for the fifth wicket. After losing Elliott on 113 and Gray six runs later the balance swung to Burwell. Home captain Mark Thomas did his best to get Swardeston within striking distance with a late run-a-ball 16, but they fell 20 runs short.

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Third in the averages is Rahul Dewan (54.57), who helped Mallards to their five-wickets home win over Woolpit. Captain Paul Bradshaw won the toss and decided to bowl, taking three wickets himself while Martin Addison claimed two each as Woolpit made 198-7 from 53 overs. The only extensive resistance came from Michael Jones (76) and Ben Shepperson (72), who put on 122 for the fifth wicket.

In reply Matt Platter (83 from 67 balls) and Dewan (48 from 56) took Mallards from 43-2 to 161-3 before Dewan and Alistair Shearer (14no) added 33 for the fourth wicket to take them to the brink of victory.

Opener Nathan Perry-Warnes hit an unbeaten 84 on a frustrating day for Horsford. They stopped Copdock's Australian paceman Peter George from adding to his 30 EAPL wickets as Perry-Warnes and Love (34) made 52 for the first wicket. Perry-Warnes also shared an unbroken stand of 71 for the fifth wicket with Bryan (32 not out) to steer Horsford to 188-4 before the weather had the final say.

Third-place Saffron Walden did well to escape a defeat at Bury-St-Edmunds after home captain Tom Huggins had led his team to 210-5 declared with the best individual score of the day – 112. In reply Saffron Walden looked to be a beaten team at 83-8, despite some dogged resistance from Niraj Odedra (40). But Bury were denied by an unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 47 between Neil Gladwin (15) and Tim Smith (17).

Rupinder Dhaliwal provided the main entertainment at Granta with 75 off 72 balls in Clacton's 171-6. Nobody made more than 32 in reply, but five got into their 20s, which was enough for a four-wickets win.