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Swardeston edge home by eight runs to boost their EAPL title challenge

PUBLISHED: 07:39 22 July 2019

Jack Boyle on the attack for Great Witchingham during the game against Saffron Walden which was cut short by rain Picture: TIM FERLEY

Jack Boyle on the attack for Great Witchingham during the game against Saffron Walden which was cut short by rain Picture: TIM FERLEY

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Swardeston have made a habit of winning tight games this season - and they did it again on Saturday to keep the pressure firmly on Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League leaders Frinton.

Peter Trewick on his way to a three wicket haul for Great Witchingham at Walcis Park Picture: TIM FERLEYPeter Trewick on his way to a three wicket haul for Great Witchingham at Walcis Park Picture: TIM FERLEY

Joe Gatting's side came away from Mildenhall with a tense eight-run victory to stay just 17 points behind their Essex rivals, who cruised home by seven wickets at Burwell and Exning.

After losing the toss Swardeston were asked to bat first in tricky conditions and after slipping to 84-6 did well to post a competitive 195. Gatting made 40 to ensure his side had something to build on and then Alfie Cooper took over, making 65 from 76 balls from No 8.

Mildenhall also improved after a tentative start, with Tom Rash and Ankit Sharma (51) putting on 75 for the sixth wicket to leave the game delicately poised.

The hosts were on 150-6 with plenty of time to get the runs but the Swardeston bowlers kept chipping away and it was soon 166-9. Rash and Mustaza Hussain then took the hosts to 187 before Rash was run out by Lewis Denmark for a battling 40.

Saxlingham's Ollie Browne pictured in front of the scoreboard after his memorable unbeaten double hundred Picture: SAXLINGHAM CCSaxlingham's Ollie Browne pictured in front of the scoreboard after his memorable unbeaten double hundred Picture: SAXLINGHAM CC

Sudbury remain firmly in the title race after winning a rain-affected game at Vauxhall Mallards by eight wickets.

Playing in the league for the first time since their decision to disband at the end of the season was announced, Mallards had reached 113-6 in 38 overs when a heavy shower descended on Halvergate. The highlights of a spirited show were an innings of 44 from Australian Johnathan Dalton and an unbroken stand of 46 for the seventh wicket between seamers Adam Todd and Michael Eccles.

When play eventually restarted Sudbury had 34 overs to get the runs required and reached their target in less than 15.

Youngster Callum Metcalf had a day to remember as Horsford came away from Cambridge with a four wicket win.

He took 6-50, with the experience of Chris Brown weighing in with 3-56, as the hosts were restricted to 163. Horsford then recovered from the shock of losing three early wickets to extend their winning run, with Stephan Marillier leading the way with 80 and Will Rogers (34) and Ryan Findlay (24 not out) also playing important knocks.

Rain had the final say at Walcis Park, with Great Witchingham left stranded on 77-6 in pursuit of Saffron Walden's 153. The visitors were indebted to a fine 76 from opener Jake Foley while Andy Hanby, Peter Trewick and Brett Stolworthy all took three wickets.

The match was building towards an exciting climax, with Jack Boyle having made 36, when the weather intervened in the 24th over of the Witches' reply.

Royal London Club Championship

Swardeston moved another step closer to a Lord's final on Sunday when they beat Finchley in the last 16 of the Royal London Club Championship.

A trip to London presented a tough challenge to Joe Gatting's side but they overcame it in impressive fashion, winning by 42 runs at Arden Field to reach the quarter-finals of the national competition.

Gatting won the toss and opted to bat first and after his side had stuttered to 65-4 he featured in an important fifth wicket stand of 60 with Lewis Denmark (28).

The skipper went on to top score with 79 in 92 balls, with seven fours and a six, while some valuable late runs were added by Freddie Ruffell (26 in 18 balls) and Mark Thomas (16 not out in nine).

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Thanks to a good team effort Swardeston reached a solid 225-8 in their 40 overs, meaning Finchley needed to score at nearly a run a ball to progress.

They got off to a decent start, with opener Majed Ali making 32 before having to retire hurt and Jake Milton and Tom Powe both scoring 47 to take their side past three figures with only one wicket down.

Gatting made two more key contributions by claiming the wickets of Finchley's joint top scorers - and when they went the asking rate started to rise quickly as the bowlers turned the screw.

Ali only added one more to his total before being run out while the next highest score was 16 as the home side were bowled out for 183 in the 38th over.

Gatting produced the best bowling figures of the game, taking 4-46 in eight overs after weighing in with 5-57 in Swardeston's narrow win over Mildenhall the previous day in the Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League.

He was well supported by Callum Taylor, who wrapped up the tail to finish with 3-21, while Richard Sims (1-28) and Tom Oxley (1-38) were the other wicket takers.

Swardeston face another away game in the quarter-finals, with a trip to Bexley in Kent coming up on Sunday, August 11.

An added incentive to win, not that they will need one, is the fact that the final of the competition is being staged at Lord's for the first time since 2008, with a trip to the home of cricket on Monday, September 16 the target for the eight surviving teams.

Cecil Amey Norfolk Alliance

Saxlingham's Ollie Browne rewrote the club record books as his side beat Hales & Loddon in a run-packed Division Six encounter.

Browne made a brilliant unbeaten 201, the highest score ever recorded by the village club, to help his side up to 291-3 in their 45 overs. The big hitting opener faced only 136 deliveries and struck 146 of his runs in boundaries, with 20 fours and 11 sixes.

To their credit the visitors responded bravely to the onslaught, replying with a more than respectable 229-7, with Milton Lindsay and Aldwyn Lindsay both making half centuries.

The top two in the Premier Division both saw their games cut short by rain, with Fakenham and North Runcton now level at the top on 197 points.

Fakenham made 176-6 in 40 overs, with Cromer on 29-0 in reply, while North Runcton got up to 240-5, with Brooke on 60-2.

Fakenham's Keegan Monahan-Fairlie followed up his maiden century of the previous week with 78 not out this time around while Runcton's stars were openers Kirwin Christoffels (90 not out) and Jack Major (50).

Oli Higenbottam made 69 and Jamie Mirner took 4-26 as Norwich maintained their improved form with a comfortable with over Stow while Dereham gave their hopes of beating the drop a timely boost by winning the basement battle at Diss by six wickets after dismissing the home side for 180.

Old Buckenham moved 33 points clear at the top of Division One following an emphatic win at Sprowston, who had started the day in fourth.

Matt Bint made an unbeaten 71 in a total of 171-7 and Rob Thurley (4-12) and Chris Howes (4-19) then led the way as the hosts crashed to 95 all out.

Thetford are now second after winning a low scoring battle against Swaffham by nine runs, with their total of 109 proving just enough. It was a day for the bowlers, with Swaffham's Tom Puckley (4-11) and Thetford's Neil Lockwood (4-18) and Craig Baulch (4-17) all making the most of the favourable conditions.

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