Top two in EAPL win again to set up potential title showdown at Common
- Credit: Archant
The stage has been set perfectly for a potential title showdown in the Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League after the leading contenders both picked up wins at the weekend.
Second-placed Swardeston were too strong for Burwell and Exning, romping home with nearly 15 overs in hand, while leaders Frinton came through a stern test against an in-form Horsford side to maintain their slender four-point advantage.
The two front-runners meet at The Common on Saturday and with just three matches to be played after that the winners would surely fancy their chances of going on to clinch the silverware - and with the 50 over format now in operation there will be a winner, unless the weather intervenes of course.
Swardeston turned in a thoroughly professional performance at Exning Park, bowling out their hosts for 202 before going on to win by six wickets. Burwell did well to get as high as they did, with good knocks down the order from Sam Rippington (51) and Ed Manning (37 not out) lifting them from 142-8. Skipper Joe Gatting led from the front with figures of 3-30 while Callum Taylor, Toby Duncan and Freddie Ruffell all took two wickets. The visitors lost four wickets in reaching 82 but then an unbroken stand of 124 between Peter Lambert (71 not out) and Lewis Denmark (47 not out) saw them home.
Swardeston would have been hoping for a favour from Horsford at Frinton but despite a good effort they couldn't provide it.
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On a tricky day for the batsmen the visitors were grateful for knocks from Jason Reynolds (80 not out) and Ryan Findlay (47) as they got up to 191-6, and when Frinton slipped to 92-5 in reply it was very much game on. But there were no more alarms for the leaders as Miguel Angelo Machado (76 not out) and Michael Comber (51 not out) got together.
Defending champions Sudbury beat Saffron Walden by nine wickets and remain just 17 points behind Swardeston in third.
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Great Witchingham recorded a five wicket win over Mildenhall after bowling them out for 204 at Walcis Park, with Brett Stolworthy and Charlie Rogers both taking three wickets. The victory was set up by an opening stand of 103 between Jack Boyle (96) and Sam Arthurton (50).
Vauxhall Mallards could only muster 10 players for their match against Bury St Edmunds at Halvergate and were beaten by 97 runs. Mallards produced a good bowling effort, reducing the visitors to 18-4 before they recovered to 200 all out, but once again their brittle batting line-up was exposed as they finished on 103-9 in reply. Adam Todd bowled an excellent spell to take 4-16 in eight overs while Troy Alan battled away for 118 balls for 43.
Cecil Amey Norfolk Alliance
Premier Division leaders North Runcton suffered an emphatic home defeat against Stow, who kept their own outside title hopes alive as a result.
There was an early finish as Runcton were bowled out for only 113, with Sam Morgan (4-9) and Pete Brassett (4-33) doing the damage and only Kirwin Christoffels (52) providing any real resistance. Freddie Fairey's unbeaten 62 ensured Stow went on to win by nine wickets to close the gap on their local rivals to just nine points.
Defending champions Fakenham are now 23 clear at the top after beating a struggling Downham Town side. They made a solid 245-6 in their 50 overs and then restricted the opposition to 201-8. The leaders visit North Runcton on Saturday - and will seal the title with a game to spare if they win.
Dereham's brave battle to avoid the drop gathered more momentum when they beat Garboldisham by seven wickets when chasing 178. That was a good result for second from bottom Diss but despite a memorable knock from Jebb Swallow they were unable to capitalise. The Australian made 130 in 136 balls, with 13 fours and three sixes, but Diss still fell nine runs short when chasing Norwich's 220.
Old Buckenham are closing in on the Division One title after making short work of Topcroft, who were bowled out for just 79 as Charlie Tunstall (4-15) and Dan Bint (4-24) shone.
It looks like a straight fight for the second promotion spot between Thetford and Acle, who both won again.
Thetford had a tough fixture at Sprowston but came through it by two wickets when chasing 217-9. Liam Conroy top scored with 70, after earlier taking 4-30, while Craig Baulch hit an important 39 not out to see his side home. Acle beat Swardeston A by 117 runs after making 269-7 (Tom Wilson 75).
Elsewhere several issues have been decided with two rounds of games still to be played. Great Melton and Bradenham are going up in Division Three, Sheringham in Division Four and Sandringham and Denver in Division Five.
Vitality National T20
Swardeston kept their nerve in a tense climax on Sunday to reach finals day of the Vitality Club Twenty20 competition for the third time in four years.
Joe Gatting's side returned home from Berkswell in the Midlands with a three wicket victory after bowling the home side out for 132.
It was far from straightforward for Swardeston, who slipped to 14-4 in reply before a stand of 81 between Peter Lambert and Lewis Denmark got them back on track.
A further cluster of wickets left the visitors on 108-7 but then Alfie Cooper joined Lambert at the crease and blasted 19 in six balls, finishing the match with a six off the last ball of the 19th over. Lambert finished 60 not out while Callum Taylor (3-16) and Gatting (3-30) took the bowling honours.