EAPL round-up: Vauxhall Mallards’ Norfolk players rise to the challenge against leaders Sudbury

Young Swardeston paceman Tom Oxley in full flight during Saturday's win over Burwell. Picture: Tim F

Young Swardeston paceman Tom Oxley in full flight during Saturday's win over Burwell. Picture: Tim Ferley - Credit: Archant

Vauxhall Mallards' Norfolk contingent took centre stage as their side recorded a superb win at leaders Sudbury.

John Ewart and Brett Stolworthy starred with the bat and Ben France and Adam Todd with the ball to guide the visitors to a 36-run win that cut the Suffolk's side lead to just eight points.

After winning the toss in a rain affected game and opting to bat first Mallards looked to be heading for defeat when they slipped to 90-7. But Ewart was still there and he found a willing ally in Stolworthy as the visitors at least gave themselves something to defend.

The pair knuckled down and managed to get the total up to 162 in a reduced allocation of 54 overs, with Ewart finishing on 61 and Stolworthy 34.

It was then down to bowlers to make the unbroken eighth wicket partnership of 72 count for something and they did so in emphatic fashion, bowling the leaders out for 126, with France taking 5-23 and Todd 3-39.

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While Sudbury were sliding to only their second defeat of the season rivals Swardeston bounced back from a surprise loss of their own against Horsford the previous weekend to record a comfortable six wicket success over Burwell.

After being put into bat at The Common, the visitors struggled to 154 in 59.2 overs, with opener Tom Jagot making 48. Joe Gatting and Tom Oxley took the bowling honours. with figures of 4-19 and 4-37 respectively.

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The champions then knocked off the runs required in the 35th over, with all of their batsmen contributing with scores of between 26 and 34.

Third placed Great Witchingham were unable to make big inroads into Sudbury's advantage as they were held to a frustrating draw at Copdock - after getting all the way up to 328-3.

James Spelman and Sam Arthurton gave the Witches a fine start, putting on 80 before Spelman played on to spinner Stephen Croft for 36. James Hale then combined well with Arthurton to put on exactly 100 before the latter fell three short of his century to a catch by Tom Rash off the bowling of Jack Beaumont.

Hale and South African Luke Schlemmer added the gloss to the innings with an unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 131. Hale (105 not out) registered his third league century in his last four innings while Schlemmer hit five sixes in an unbeaten 75 from just 49 balls.

The Witches managed to rattle through 69 overs in reply but they were unable to force the win, with Copdock making 242-8, with Suffolk star Martyn Cull batting throughout to finish unbeaten on 123.

A superb effort from tailenders Jason Blake and Dom Mirner enabled Norwich to come away from Mildenhall with a hard earned draw.

The visitors looked destined for a comprehensive defeat when they slipped to 108-9 chasing a home total of 212-8 (Sean McCabe 5-29).

But then Blake (44) and Mirner (26) got together to pull off a great escape, with an unbroken 10th wicket partnership of 68 seeing their side finish on 176-9.

The stand was more than about just stubborn defence, with the pair hitting 10 fours between them as Norwich secured enough points to move up a place in the table.

Horsford also returned home with a draw after a hard-fought game at bottom side Bury St Edmunds.

The hosts made 206, with spinners Robbie Findlay and Chris Brown taking seven wickets between them, and had Horsford on 185-7 at the close. Stephan Marillier led the reply with 53 while Findlay saw the game out with an unbeaten 35.

It was a decent result for the visitors, who had beaten champions Swardeston in their previous fixture, as it maintained a comforting gap of 54 points between themselves and the one relegation position.

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