East Anglian Premier League round-up: Another blow for defending champions Swardeston
Overnight rain accounted for two of the three East Anglian Premier League matches scheduled for Norfolk on Saturday – and Swardeston's players would doubtless have preferred it if the other one had suffered the same fate.
Their match at Ingham went ahead as planned after a delayed start, with hosts Norwich turning in an impressive display to condemn the defending champions to a second straight defeat.
Having lost by 10 wickets to bottom side Horsford the previous week, Swardeston received a welcome boost at the weekend when they won the toss and, unsurprisingly, put the opposition into bat under leaden skies. But that was the only success Mark Thomas and his team enjoyed on another disappointing day that saw Cambridge Granta – 10 wicket victors over Frinton – move 22 points clear at the top.
It wasn't easy for Norwich, far from it, but they knuckled down and did well to reach 170 in the 52nd over, with a sixth-wicket stand of 52 between top scorer Andy McGeorge (28) and Pat Sheridan (19) integral to their eventual success. Joe Gatting mopped up the tail to finish with 4-36 while Tom Oxley and Michael Eccles each took a couple of wickets.
Swardeston's reply got off to a steady start as they passed 50 for the loss of only one wicket but it was a real struggle after Gatting and Jordan Taylor went in quick succession and they were all out for just 96. Will O'Donnell was the destroyer-in-chief with figures of 4-13, with Paul Wiseman, Ashley Watson and Dominic Mirner weighing in with two wickets apiece.
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With the matches between Great Witchingham and Woolpit and Horsford and Sudbury both falling foul of the weather the only other Norfolk team to see action was Vauxhall Mallards – and they turned on the style at Burwell to move up to fourth in the table, just 13 points behind the defending champions.
They also put their hosts in after winning the toss, and their bowlers quickly took charge to dismiss the Cambridgeshire outfit for a paltry 90 in the 43rd over. The ever-consistent Paul Bradshaw led the way by taking 4-29, with Mitchell Todd (3-26) also having an excellent day with the ball.
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Mallards wasted no time in knocking off the runs required, with a quick-fire opening partnership of 51 between John Ewart and Todd setting the tone before some big hitting from Harry Barker saw them home. His cameo knock of 22 not out was made up entirely of boundaries, with three sixes and one four.
- Swardeston bounced back from their league defeat when they made further progress in the ECB's National Club Championship on Sunday.
They saw off Leicestershire visitors Kibworth by three wickets after a keenly-contested encounter at The Common.
Kibworth made a competitive 219-5 in their 45 overs, with skipper Mark Thomas taking 3-46 after a second-wicket stand of 137 between Richard Jackson and Sunny Patel.
Swardeston then edged home in the 44th over thanks to the efforts of Peter Lambert (77), Stephen Gray (38), Jordan Taylor (31) and Lewis Denmark (30).