East Anglian Premier League: Agonising near miss for Vauxhall Mallards

Swardeston v Burwell cricket. Michael Eccles bowling for Swardeston. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Swardeston v Burwell cricket. Michael Eccles bowling for Swardeston. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Vauxhall Mallards endured a frustrating near miss as they attempted to a force a win against unbeaten league leaders Cambridge Granta.

A thrilling encounter at Clare College ended with the visitors an agonising two short of their victory target, with the task of scoring 13 runs off their final over proving just beyond them.

Chasing 245-6, Mallards were in the driving seat when Mitchell Todd followed up his earlier 3-47 by getting to three figures. But when the all-rounder went for 111 it became a desperate race against time for the lower order and despite the best efforts of John Ewart, Luke Caswell and Brett Stolworthy they had to settle for a draw after finishing on 244-7.

It was a similar Norfolk hard luck story at Frinton-on-Sea, with Great Witchingham getting to within 11 runs of what would have been a first win of the season before stumps were drawn. The Essex side looked to be in command when they finished on 273-7, with South African Murray Commins making 81 and Matt Foakes an unbeaten 78, but bat continued to dominate ball when the Witches set off on a improbable run chase.

Sam Arthurton got the innings off to a solid start with a half century and then Brenton McDonald took centre stage with an impressive display of big hitting that so nearly got his team off the mark.

The Australian all-rounder, who had earlier taken plenty of stick while taking four wickets, got his own back in spectacular fashion by scoring 92 runs in boundaries (11 fours and eight sixes) in a superb unbeaten 109. Sadly it was not quite enough, with Witchingham stranded on 263-4 at the end of play.

There was a more sedate finish at The Common as Swardeston beat Burwell to close the gap on Granta to just eight points – but the hosts certainly didn't have it all their own way as they made it four straight wins. Having been put into the bat the visitors did well to reach 197, after being 139-8 at one stage, with Ed Fletcher's 47 helping them set a defendable total.

Most Read

Joe Gatting, one of four bowlers to take two wickets for the defending champions, then put them into a strong position with another good knock of 57. But with Burwell taking wickets at regular intervals Swardeston needed a belligerent unbeaten 50 from young Freddie Ruffell featuring five fours and three sixes to see them home by three wickets.

The derby match at Ingham saw Norwich record their third victory on the trot to leave Horsford still without a win and 17 points adrift at the foot of the table.

The visitors were put into bat and made a terrible start, losing fit-again Stephan Marillier for a second ball duck as they slipped to 10-4.

In the end they did well to get up to 180 all out, with contributions in the 30s from Ben France, Ryan Findlay, Robbie Bridgstock and Chris Brown, but it wasn't nearly enough.

Norwich lost two wickets in getting to 38 but then New Zealander Will O'Donnell took control in the company of skipper Ashley Watson. O'Donnell finished on 103, with 12 fours and three sixes, and Watson on 50 as the pair put together an unbroken 145 to see their side home.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter