France takes 6-14 as Vauxhall Mallards record third straight win

Joe Gatting on his way to an unbeaten century for Swardeston at Manor Park on Saturday Picture: TIM

Joe Gatting on his way to an unbeaten century for Swardeston at Manor Park on Saturday Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

It was a day that was just made for batsmen - but that didn't stop Ben France from turning on the style with the ball to help Vauxhall Mallards to their third successive win.

With the sun beating down from a cloudless sky, big totals were the order of the day, with the notable exception being at Mildenhall where the hosts came up against an opposition skipper in inspired form.

Having won the toss and deciding to bowl first France justified that decision by taking four early wickets and with fellow seamer Paul Bradshaw also getting in on the act Mildenhall slumped to 27-5 before eventually scrambling their way up to 98 in the 44th over.

France struck twice more to finish with the outstanding figures of 12.2-5-14-6 while Bradshaw weighed in with 2-22 from 11 as arguably the top opening partnership in the East Anglian Premier League wreaked havoc.

Mallards started poorly themselves, slipping to 22-3, but Nick Smit and Oli Stone soon settled the nerves, with the heroes of the previous week's excellent win at Swardeston seeing their side home with an unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 79.

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Warwickshire paceman Stone, again playing for his club as a batsman only, finished unbeaten on 48 and Smit on 31.

It was a very different game at Manor Park, with over 600 runs being scored as Swardeston got back to winning ways with a hard-fought five wicket victory over Horsford.

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The hosts batted well to set a daunting total 302-7 for a side who were under some pressure after sliding to sixth in the table following three successive defeats. Opener Chad Bowes led the way with 85 while Ryan Findlay struck 10 fours in a brisk unbeaten 54 to help his side get over 300.

It was a tough challenge for Joe Gatting's men, but the captain led by example as they overhauled their target in the 55th over.

Gatting put on 116 for the third wicket in the company of Jordan Taylor and then saw his side over the line after they had lost Freddie Ruffell and Stephen Gray in quick succession to Chris Brown. He finished unbeaten on 111 while Taylor fell just three short of a ton.

Swardeston are now back up to third but remain 35 points behind leaders Sudbury, who comfortably saw off Norwich at Postwick. The hosts struggled to 186-8 in their 64 overs, with eight batsmen making double figures but the highest score being only 42 from Nipuna Seraratne. It was not nearly enough, with Subdury winning by five wickets in the 44th over.

Sam Arthurton's century wasn't enough as Great Witchingham suffered a seven wicket defeat at Cambridge Granta.

After being asked to bat first the Witches made a solid start, with James Spelman (35) and Arthurton putting on 105 for the first wicket.

Arthurton went on to complete a fine century in what has been an excellent week for the Norfolk opener who had scored 222 for his county while being dismissed just once. His innings of 107 contained 16 fours.

The Witchingham innings then lost its way despite 41 by Mike Jones and it was left to James Page and Andy Hanby to put on 27 in the last few overs to get the score up to 247.

That still looked well below par and once Michael Pepper got to work so it proved. He put on 97 for the first wicket with Claydon, who was caught by Sam Groves off the bowling of Jones for 32. Pepper, fresh from making his county championship debut for Essex against Somerset during the week, went on to make 84 and when he went skipper Jonathan Atkinson saw Granta home with an unbeaten 61.

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