EAPL round-up: Swardeston lose unbeaten record as Jaik Mickleburgh turns on style

Spinner Mike Jones on his way to an impressive six wicket haul for Great Witchingham. Picture: Tim F

Spinner Mike Jones on his way to an impressive six wicket haul for Great Witchingham. Picture: Tim Ferley - Credit: Archant

A familiar face played the starring role to condemn Swardeston to their first defeat of the season in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League.

Former Essex star Jaik Mickleburgh, one of the best batsmen to come out of Norfolk in recent years, recorded a superb unbeaten 133 as Copdock and Ipswichian overhauled a testing total of 297-6 for the loss of just four wickets.

Mickleburgh featured in an unbeaten partnership of 179 with Tom Rash to negate the earlier good work of Swardeston professional Joe Gatting, who scored a beautiful century himself to put the visitors in a strong position. Gatting made a typically entertaining 108 in 128 balls, with eight fours and three sixes, while useful contributions from Stephen Gray and Jordan Taylor, who both scored 41, helped lift the score towards 300.

When Copdock slipped to 119-4 in reply the total looked to be more than enough but that all changed when former Horsford starlet Mickleburgh and Rash (74 not out) got together to steer their side to a notable win.

These was some good news for Swardeston, however, with leaders Sudbury also suffering their first defeat of the season at Frinton. But Mark Thomas' side are now third in the table, with neighbours Great Witchingham moving up a place following a five wicket victory over Vauxhall Mallards.

The Mallards innings never really got going despite the efforts of John Ewart who made a fine 65 including seven fours and four sixes. A number of key players were out to poor shots and the innings folded on 159. There was an excellent spell of slow bowling by head coach Mike Jones, who returned figures of 18-4-53-6.

The Witchingham reply started in positive mode with James Spelman and Sam Arthurton putting on 40 for the first wicket before Spelman departed. James Hale fell with the score on 66 and Witchingham then lost two wickets on 105, with Luke Schlemmer being bowled by Mitchell Todd and Arthurton going to the first ball bowled by Luke Caswell for 57. Worse was to follow when Jonathan Spelman was out to the final ball before tea, leaving Witchingham on 115-5, but Jones and young Aaron Riseborough both played sensibly to see the Witches home in 35th over.

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Norwich and Horsford continue to struggle at the wrong end of the EAPL table after suffering defeats on the road.

After slumping to 2-4 at Cambridge Granta, with four top line batsmen going for ducks, Norwich did well to get their total up to 110, with an unbeaten 66 from the ever reliable Will O'Donnell preventing a total a humiliation.

But the modest score was nowhere near enough, with the home side getting home in the 29th over for the loss of only two wickets.

It was a little closer at Mildenhall, with Horsford turning in a solid show with the ball to restrict their hosts to 168-8 in 64 overs. The innings was built around Peter Worthington's 65, while Ryan Findlay took 4-31 to keep his side well in the game.

The Horsford skipper later completed a good personal contribution by making 33 but that was the only score of note as the visitors were dismissed for only 119.

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