EAPL round-up: A story of what might have been for champions Swardeston

Young seamer Freddie Ruffell in full flight for Swardeston against Norwich on Saturday. Picture: Tim

Young seamer Freddie Ruffell in full flight for Swardeston against Norwich on Saturday. Picture: Tim Ferley - Credit: Archant

Swardeston were foiled by a combination of stubborn lower order resistance and the weather as their bid to claim back top spot in the East Anglian Premier League ended in frustration.

The defending champions twice looked on course to claim the win they needed against Norwich, firstly they when reduced their visitors to 173-8 and later in the day when they were closing in on their target with Jason Reynolds and Joe Gatting well set.

But Jason Blake led a revival to help get Norwich up to 251-9 in their 64 overs and as it turned out that proved to be more than enough to secure a draw, with Swardeston stranded on 162-2 when rain arrived.

Mark Thomas' side would have had plenty of time to knock off the runs had it not been for their opponents' late resistance.

Wicketkeeper/batsman Blake hit six fours and two sixes in an enterprising unbeaten 57 in just 63 balls which turned the course of the game. The necessary support came from George Bowman and Dom Mirner as 78 runs were added for the final two wickets.

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It was a hugely frustrating delay for Swardeston, with early evening rain expected, but they responded to the challenge in positive fashion, with opener Reynolds leading the way.

With a swift scoring rate required he went on the front foot in the company of Jordan Taylor, Lewis Denmark and finally Gatting, and had reached an unbeaten 81 in 123 balls when the game was abandoned.

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It was certainly a case of what might have been, but on a positive note Swardeston actually edged a point closer to leaders Sudbury, whose game was also cut short.

They had only just started their reply to a useful 277-8 declared from Cambridgeshire Granta when a halt was called.

Vauxhall Mallards must have been relieved to see the rain arrive at Burwell after they had lost three quick wickets in reply to a daunting 330-5 from their hosts.

After a solid start which saw Ben France make 34, Mallards quickly went from 47-1 to 51-4, with Sam Rippington doing the damage, before the weather had the final say.

Burwell's innings had been built around a brilliant third wicket partnership of 211 between Andrew Bramley (141) and Ben Seabrook (106) while Adam Todd claimed 3-76.

Great Witchingham were the only team to claim a win at the weekend after bowling out Mildenhall for just 73.

They had no hesitation in bowling first on a damp wicket after winning the toss and opening bowlers Andy Hanby and James Spelman soon proved that this was the right decision as they reduced their hosts to 13-4.

South African Tyron Koen, who has replaced Tino Best as the Mildenhall overseas player, then battled well for his 25 before he became the sixth wicket to fall when he was well caught at slip by Will Rogers off the bowling of Phil King.

Tom Allen put up some resistance and made 20 before he was the final wicket to fall when Hanby returned to the attack. There were three wickets each for Hanby and Spelman and two for King.

The visitors survived to lunch but soon after Spelman was dismissed with the score on 15. Jimmy Hale then joined skipper Sam Arthurton at the crease and they steered their side to within three runs of victory before Hale was stumped by Ryan Clark off Murtaza Hussain for 36.

Arthurton settled the issue just before 3pm with a boundary to set things up nicely for next Saturday's home game against leaders Sudbury and the trip the week after to second placed Swardeston.

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