Disappointing start to the East Anglian Premier League season for Norfolk clubs

Swardeston skipper Joe Gatting in conversation with Freddie Ruffell on a glorious day at The Common

Swardeston skipper Joe Gatting in conversation with Freddie Ruffell on a glorious day at The Common Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

It was a bad opening day of the season for Norfolk clubs in the East Anglian Premier League, with all four of them suffering defeats.

Swardeston spinner Joe Flatt in action against Copdock on the opening day of the EAPL season Picture

Swardeston spinner Joe Flatt in action against Copdock on the opening day of the EAPL season Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

Swardeston, Horsford and Vauxhall Mallards were well beaten - the latter in a match which produced almost 800 runs - while Great Witchingham suffered a narrow reverse in a low scoring affair at Frinton.

Having finished runners-up to Sudbury in each of the previous two seasons Swardeston were looking for a flying start against Copdock and Ipswichian on a glorious day at The Common. But they left themselves with too much to do after allowing the visitors to score at over five runs and over.

After being asked to bat first Ben Claydon (62), Jed Cawkwell (48) and Jacob Marston (47) made the significant contributions in an impressive 50 over total of 257-7, with Freddie Ruffell, Joe Gatting and Joe Flatt each taking two wickets.

Swardeston have chased down that sort of total on numerous occasions in the past but never recovered from losing Taylor brothers Jordan and Callum for a single apiece to crash to 13-2.

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Wicket-keeper Stephen Gray batted well to make 85 in 109 balls, with support coming all the way down the order, but Swardeston were always behind the asking rate and ended up losing by 51 runs after being dismissed for 206 in the 46th over.

Former Swardeston batsman Jason Reynolds shone on his debut for Horsford at Manor Park - but it was not enough to prevent visitors Bury St Edmunds from leaving with a comprehensive seven wicket success.

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Reynolds top scored with 58, putting on 80 for the sixth wicket with youngster Callum Metcalf, but Horsford could only get up to 199-9 in their 50 overs.

That looked a decent total when Melcalfe took three wickets to reduce Bury to 41-3 but that was the end of the drama as Ben Seabrook (104) and Daniel Thornhill-Moriaty (65) put on an unbroken 159 for the fourth wicket.

Vauxhall Mallards' bowlers suffered in the sunshine in Cambridgeshire, going for almost nine and over as hosts Burwell and Exning piled up an incredible total of 431-6.

Tom Griffiths (68) and Tom Jagot (59) set the tone with an opening partnership of 133 and Tim Catley (103 not out in 71 balls) and Joe Tettey (90 in 61 balls) then took complete control as the bowlers wilted in the heat.

To be fair to Adam Todd's side they then produced a spirited effort with the bat, reaching 339-7 in reply. It was a total that would normally have won a game but on this occasion left them losers by 92 runs.

Todd and Tom Miller each hit five fours and five sixes in knocks of 70 and 60 respectively while there was also a half century for opener James Vann.

An amazing tally of 112 boundaries were struck on the day - 29 sixes and 83 fours.

It was a very different story at Frinton where a home total of 143 was enough to secure victory.

Witchingham, who had new faces in the team in Jack Boyle, Pete Trewick, Alex Shanks and the returning Charlie Rogers, opted to bowl first and made an excellent start, with Andy Hanby and Will Means reducing the hosts to 20-2.

With former Essex player Jake Mickleburgh back in the pavilion the Witches were in a good place and although Kyran Young and Blaine Bannister took the total to 54 Brett Stolworthy then claimed the first of his four wickets when Sam Arthurton took a catch at slip to dismiss Bannister.

The introduction of Trewick brought some genuine pace and he cleaned bowled Young, Stolworthy dismissed Norfolk skipper Ashley Watson and Trewick followed up with the wicket of home captain Mike Comber.

By then it had become clear that it was not an easy wicket to score on and Frinton were eventually dismissed in 34th over, with Stolworthy returning the excellent figures of 4-25, Charlie Rogers 2-9 and Trewick 2-43. The visitors conceded no fewer than 49 extras however - and that was to prove decisive in the end.

It was evident from the start that it would be a difficult chase, with some tight bowling from Comber and ex Essex second teamer Ollie Bocking keeping the Witches firmly in check.

The writing was on the wall when openers Sam Arthurton and Boyle went in quick succession to leave the visitors on 23-2.

Shanks batted nicely for his 31 but it was a real struggle for the visitors, with Sri Lankan professional Dulanjala Mendis, who has taken over 340 wickets in first class cricket with his orthodox slow left arm, claiming three wickets.

A last wicket stand of 27 by Sam Groves and Will Means gave a brief glimmer of hope but Witchingham were dismissed for 125 in the 43rd over to lose by 18 runs.

Champions Sudbury could hardly have made a better start, winning by 10 wickets after restricting visitors Cambridge Granta to 172-7.

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