Swardeston knocked off top of EAPL after first loss since opening day
- Credit: Archant
Swardeston were knocked off top spot in the Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League on Saturday after suffering only their second defeat of the season.
Joe Gatting's side were beaten for the first time since the opening day after being edged out in a low scoring game at Saffron Walden which saw the hosts chase down a modest target of 190 for the loss of seven wickets.
Unbeaten Frinton beat Mildenhall by 35 runs to move nine points above the morning leaders while reigning champions Sudbury are now only 11 points behind them after having the better of a drawn game with Bury St Edmunds.
Swardeston were asked to bat first in bowler friendly conditions and a solid effort enabled them to post a competitive total. No-one managed to get past 40, but Jordan Taylor (39), Peter Lambert (35), Callum Taylor (31), Stephen Gray (27) and Alfie Cooper (25) all played their part in making a game of it.
The visitors must have sensed victory after reducing Saffron Walden to 71-5 in reply but the recently promoted side then knuckled down to get over the line in the 47th over. Giles Ecclestone, Ben Harris and Joe Barrs all made scores in the thirties, with the latter unbeaten, while Gatting posted the commendable figures of 4-53 from 16 overs.
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Horsford moved up to fourth, albeit 37 points adrift of Sudbury, after seeing off Copdock at Manor Park in another match where runs were hard to come by. After being asked to bat first the hosts slipped to 54-5 before a watchful sixth wicket partnership of 98 between Jason Reynolds (46) and Ryan Findlay (55) changed the course of the game. The pair faced 145 and 136 balls respectively to get some significant runs on the board, with the innings swiftly closing on 156 once they had been dismissed.
As it turned out that was a more than adequate total. Copdock collapsed to 82 all out in reply as Thomas Nudd (4-34), Callum Melcalf (3-9), Chris Brown (2-18) and recent recruit Sadaf Hussain (1-18) all impressed.
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Vauxhall Mallards' brittle batting line-up was exposed yet again as they were unable to build on their dramatic first win of the season at Cambridge the previous weekend.
Adam Todd's side went down by eight wickets to Great Witchingham at Halvergate after once more being dismissed for well under 100, with 58 being their latest paltry total.
Australian Johnathan Dalton made 23 but there were no other scores in double figures, with not a single run coming from the final five batsman as Mallards crumbled from 56-4 to 58 all out. Brett Stolworthy claimed the eye-catching figures of 8-4-8-5 while there were two wickets apiece for Will Means and Charlie Rogers.
The Witches wrapped up the win in the 16th over for the loss of two wickets, skipper Sam Arthurton finishing unbeaten on 35.
Cecil Amey Norfolk Alliance
Defending champions Fakenham moved back to the top of the Premier Division table after an emphatic win over morning leaders North Runcton.
They made 206-9 in their 50 overs and then bowled their visitors out for just 134 to grab a five point advantage with the halfway stage of the season approaching.
Downham Town, their closest challengers in 2018, are right in the mix again and boosted their title hopes by winning a game of two centuries against Diss.
Fletcher Coutts reached 102 as Town set a daunting target of 256-7 and an unbeaten 101 from Rob Tooke then proved to be in vain as the hosts finished on 221-8.
In-form Brooke beat Stow by three wickets to move above them up to fourth, just 13 points off the summit. Stow were all out for 197 (George Cook 60) and Brooke got home for the loss of seven wickets, with Flynn Drinkell the top scorer with 61.
At the other end of the table there was a timely boost for Norwich, who saw off bottom side Dereham by five wickets to register only their second win since relegation from the East Anglian Premier League. Chasing 207 they got home with over three wickets to spare, thanks largely to a 100 wicket stand for the third wicket between former Norfolk men Carl Rogers (71) and Chris Borrett (49).
It was also a good day for fellow strugglers Cromer, who made 338-6 to beat Garboldisham by 152 runs (Tom Davies 85, Michael Warnes 82, Richard Charlwood 71).
Old Buckenham got back to winning ways in Division One after making just 127 but then bowling out Thetford for 92.
There was a superb partnership in Division Five, with Denver's Harvey Wardle (153 not out) and Neil Gromett (110 not out) putting on an unbeaten 256 for the second wicket in a big win over Swardeston CEYMS A, for whom Kevin Cooper made 90 not out.