East Anglian Premier League: Leaders Swardeston put defeat behind them

Peter Lambert scored 74 for Swardeston against Cambridge Granta. Picture: Bill Smith

Peter Lambert scored 74 for Swardeston against Cambridge Granta. Picture: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Normal service was resumed on Saturday as Swardeston cruised to an eight-wicket victory over Cambridge Granta to put their bid for another East Anglian Premier League title firmly back on track.

The defending champions had a point to prove after suffering only their second defeat of the season against Norwich the previous weekend and did so in emphatic fashion as they passed their visitors' total of 147 in the 26th over.

Granta found runs hard to come by on a glorious afternoon at The Common but were clearly up for the challenge and did well to grind their way to 137-5, thanks almost entirely to the determined efforts of opener Johnny Atkinson. He ended up making 77 but was offered little help by the tail and the visitors lost their final five wickets for the addition of just 10 runs, with George Walker (4-35) mopping things up after Sam Thelwell (4-31) had done the earlier damage.

In reply Swardeston lost Jordan Taylor early but a typically attacking knock from Peter Lambert, who made 74 in as many balls, set up a comfortable win. He put on 114 for the second wicket in the company of Stephen Gray, who was still there at the end on 57 not out. Mark Thomas' side are now 69 points clear at the top, with nearest challengers Great Witchingham drawing their game at Burwell and Norwich now just one point behind following an exciting win at Bury St Edmunds.

The Witches faced an uphill battle after Burwell had made a daunting 291-5, thanks largely to an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership between Paul Summerskill (91 not out) and Milan Mniszko (81 not out). In reply the evergreen Carl Rogers also shone before being dismissed four short of a century but Witchingham were clinging on at 258-9 at the death, with an unbeaten 34 from James Page helping them to the draw.

Bury St Edmunds chose to bat first against Norwich and it looked a good decision when they were closing in on three figures for the loss of just one wicket.

But from there they slumped to 140 all out with Ashley Watson doing most of the damage for the visitors. He proved difficult to get away all afternoon and a late rush of wickets – including a hat-trick at the death – saw him finish with the hugely impressive figures of 17-9-18-6. Norwich knew they were still in for a tough battle against a side desperate to pull clear of bottom side Vauxhall Mallards, who had a free weekend, and that's just how it transpired. Oliver Higenbottam (36) and Siyas Siyath (33) were the only major contributors as the visitors slipped to 114-8 and it needed a determined unbeaten ninth-wicket partnership between Jason Blake and Freddie Klassen to see them home.

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Horsford are still looking over their shoulders after slipping to a 26-run defeat at Woolpit. The Suffolk side were grateful to a century from James Godfrey as they made 203 and it proved just about enough, with the visitors being dismissed for 177. Ryan Findlay top scored with 36 while Tim Alexander (4-47) was Horsford's most successful bowler.