East Anglian Premier League round-up: Leaders Swardeston stunned by bottom team Horsford
The formbook was turned on its head as leaders Swardeston suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of a Horsford side who went into the weekend without a win to their name.
The top versus bottom encounter at The Common could hardly have been more one-sided, but it was the struggling visitors who dominated from the word go after winning an important toss. On a cloudy morning Swardeston were unsurprisingly asked to bat first and it wasn't long before they slipped to 40-5, with Norfolk all-rounder Ben France doing most of the damage.
A partnership of 59 for the sixth wicket between Joe Gatting (56) and Jeremy Elliott (21) then repaired some of the damage, but the latter's run-out prompted another collapse and the home side were all out for 120 in the 33rd over. France, who bowled virtually throughout, finished with the impressive figures of 6-56.
Winning the game was by no means a given for Horsford at that stage bearing in mind their struggles so far this season, but in the end openers Sam Pointer and Chris Read made it look easy as they secured a stunning 10-wicket triumph. The end came in the 28th over, with Pointer unbeaten on 59 and Read on 51.
Horsford moved off the bottom as a result, with Great Witchingham now propping up the table, while the end of Swardeston's impressive six game winning streak saw them lose the leadership to Cambridge Granta.
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The Witches are still searching for their first victory of the campaign after rain ruined a potentially exciting finish to their game at Sudbury.
They were left stranded on 96-1 in the 29th over after bowling their hosts out for 226. With Sam Arthurton going well on 39 not out the visitors would surely have fancied their chances of getting the job done had the elements not intervened. Earlier Tom Huggins and Ben Reece had both recorded half centuries for the home side, while Brenton McDonald took 4-70 and James Spelman 3-19.
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Swardeston weren't the only Norfolk side to have their momentum halted at the weekend, and in emphatic fashion too, as Norwich went down by 10 wickets at Frinton.
Ashley Watson's side went into the game with four straight wins behind them but it all went wrong in Essex, with a lost toss again proving pivotal to the outcome. After being put into bat under overcast skies Norwich limped to 106 in just under 30 overs, with Will O'Donnell top scoring with 25 and Tyron Cook's late unbeaten 24 helping them creep into three figures. It was plain sailing for Frinton after that as Michael Griggs and Murray Commins saw their side home with unbeaten half centuries.
Vauxhall Mallards drew for the fourth time this season in a rain affected game at Halvergate that saw them clinging on at the end. Copdock and Ipswichian could only reach 186-9 as Paul Bradshaw (4-45) and Mitchell Todd (3-43) both impressed – but the hosts found it tough going in reply.
When stumps were drawn after just 33 overs Mallards were teetering on the brink of defeat on 124-9, with Todd's 47 the only real highlight.
Granta were held to a draw by Bury after amassing 304-3 – but the 16 points they picked up saw them move four points clear at the top.