Swardeston’s game with Vauxhall Mallards a predictably one-sided affair
- Credit: Archant
Swardeston won a predictably one-sided encounter against Vauxhall Mallards at The Common on Saturday to stay right in the thick of the Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League title battle.
The game between a side battling for honours on three fronts and one folding at the end of the season was simply no contest, with the in-form hosts blowing away the opposition on a blustery day by 241 runs.
And the margin of victory would have been over 300 had it not been for a brave last wicket stand between Mallards' James Bridges and Stephen Bradnock, which more than doubled the visitors' total.
After being asked to bat first Swardeston were given a flying start by brothers Jordan and Callum Taylor, who put on 85 for the first wicket. Jordan Taylor went on to make 71 and once he went Peter Lambert (82 in 60 balls) and Lewis Denmark (77 in 71) took control as Swardeston put a young attack to the sword to reach 381-6 in their 50 overs.
A familiar batting slump saw Mallards crash to 68-9 before Bridges (49) and Bradnock (18 not out) provided some late resistance to take the total up to 140. Matthew Taylor (4-58) and Toby Duncan (3-12) took top bowling honours while Stephen Gray, who was taking a break from wicket-keeping duties, got the final wicket.
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Swardeston remain four points behind leaders Frinton, who won comfortably at Saffron Walden, but now have a 17 point advantage over defending champions Sudbury, who were edged out by 11 runs in a thrilling encounter at Copdock.
Horsford maintained their excellent run of form with a 136 run home win over Burwell and Exning to move to within 23 points of Sudbury in fourth position. Captained by Will Rogers with Ryan Findlay away, Horsford took control by making 265-6, with Jason Reynolds (78) and Oscar Binny (61) leading the way. The visitors never looked like chasing down that solid total and were dismissed for just 129 as recent Norfolk recruit Thomas Nudd took 5-41.
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Great Witchingham recorded an impressive nine wicket win at Bury St Edmunds, even though home opener Justin Broad made an unbeaten 118.
Despite the South African's heroics Bury could only reach 218-5 in their 50 overs and the Witches knocked off the runs in the 42nd.
Jack Boyle and Sam Arthurton had put on 38 for the first wicket when Boyle went for 17. That was to be the only success for Bury as there followed a batting masterclass by Arthurton and James Hale, with both players in fine form in an unbroken partnership of 182.
Arthurton registered a superb 125 not out from 148 balls, with 10 fours and two sixes, while the elegant Hale had six fours in his 68 ball unbeaten 62.
Cecil Amey Norfolk Alliance
The Premier Division title race is shaping up into an exciting two-horse race, with a single point separating leaders North Runcton and second placed Fakenham going into the final three games.
Both sides took maximum points on Saturday, although it was a close run thing for Fakenham who were given a big scare by Norwich before edging home by three runs.
The defending champions posted an impressive 258-6 at Postwick thanks to half centuries from Luke Caswell, Ben Harvey and Will Dunger, but it was almost chased down by the hosts. Skipper Chris Borrett led the way with 93 but the Fakenham bowlers kept chipping away and Jamie Mirner was run out off the final ball as Norwich finished just short.
Runcton had an easier time of it at struggling neighbours Downham Town, bowling them out for just 132 and knocking off the runs for the loss of five wickets, with Mark Skipper top scoring with 40.
At the other end of the table Diss recorded a second successive victory to give their battle against the drop a tremendous boost.
Their match at third from bottom Garboldisham was a must win encounter and the visitors did what was required, winning by 26 runs after making 199 to move to within 20 points of their neighbours.
Dereham are probably too far back to escape but they also recorded a welcome win. Chasing Brooke's total of 243-8 (Carl Amos 70) they finally got home with two wickets to spare (Jonny Bidewell 61, Joe Marczewski 54). Old Buckenham are closing in on an immediate return to the top flight after comfortably seeing off bottom side Beccles, whose relegation was confirmed as a result. Rob Thurley made 108 in a total of 255-5 and Chris Howes then took 4-11 as the visitors were all out for 112.
Thetford and Acle, who both won again, appear to be battling for the second promotion spot.