East Anglian Premier League round-up: A magical day for Oxley and Stolworthy
Two superb displays of seam bowling lit up the fifth weekend of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League – with the two leading Norfolk clubs claiming emphatic wins as a result.
Tom Oxley and Brett Stolworthy both had days to remember as their respective clubs Swardeston and Vauxhall Mallards kept up the pressure on early pacesetters Cambridge Granta.
Oxley returned the magnificent figures of 8-28 to help bowl out Bury St Edmunds for just 93 at The Common while Stolworthy's incredible 6-6 made it a painful afternoon for new-boys Sudbury as they were skittled out for 80.
Swardeston wasted little time in wrapping up a six wicket win, with the game ending in their 20th over after opener Peter Lambert had provided some early impetus with an innings of 38 that included six fours.
The comprehensive victory lifted the defending champions up to second place in the table, 21 points behind Granta, who beat Woolpit by 32 runs at Clare College to make it four straight wins since the opening day wash-out.
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Over at Sudbury the hosts were looking reasonably comfortable on 50-1 batting first but then Stolworthy got to work in sensational fashion, with his eye-catching six-wicket return coming of just 41 deliveries. The ever-consistent Paul Bradshaw also got in the act, with his 2-20 providing valuable support.
It was plain sailing for Mallards after that, with Mitchell Todd making 41 as they got home in the 23rd over for the loss of three wickets to put the previous weekend's home defeat against Swardeston firmly behind them.
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There was an exciting finish at Postwick, with Norwich getting home by 18 runs to finally record their first win of the season.
Skipper Ashley Watson top scored for the home side with 62 as they reached 202 – but that only tells half the story.
His side looked set to post a well below-par total when they slipped to 154-9 but tail-enders Aaron Watson (25 not out) and Dominic Mirner (24) then knuckled down to put together a 10th wicket partnership of 48 that was to prove decisive.
Burwell got close, but not close enough, as Aaron Watson kept up his good work with figures of 4-44 and Sean McCabe (3-39) and Ashley Watson (2-19) also made useful contributions.
The derby match between Horsford and Great Witchingham at Manor Park featured two centuries, but no positive result, leaving both sides still searching for their first win of the campaign.
Norfolk opener Sam Arthurton was in superb nick for the Witches, piling up 147 including 11 fours and five sixes to help his side up to 256-5, with Jonathan Spelman (51) and Brenton McDonald (40 not out) also getting in on the act.
Another county star shone in reply, with Ben France finishing unbeaten on 105 to guide his side to a draw as wickets tumbled at the other end. McDonald completed an excellent performance with figures of 5-68.
Stumps were eventually drawn at the end of the 58th over with Horsford on 191-8.