East Anglian Premier League round-up: Norfolk duo are dragged into the mire
Struggling Horsford were sucked deeper into trouble as they were beaten by the only side below them in the table.
Hopes were high that the Manor Park outfit could pick up their third league victory of the campaign when they travelled to winless basement boys Bury St Edmunds. But they got off to a terrible start with only one of their top four batsmen, Nathan Perry-Warnes, reaching double figures.
That decision to take to the crease after winning the toss still looked the wrong one until wicketkeeper Darren Smith made 69, at more than a run a ball, to push his troops towards a more respectable figure. Yet his 13 fours failed to inspire any of his team-mates to get within touching distance of a half century of their own as Horsford were removed for 147.
Any chance they had of staying in the match were single-handedly removed by skipper Michael Coomber. The opener's superb unbeaten 104 off just 136 balls meant his colleagues only needed to chip in with a few runs to break their side's 2015 duck. In the end, Justin Bishop's patient 25 helped get his captain across the line. St Edmunds' six-wicket victory moved them to within just seven points of the club they beat this weekend.
Horsford's Norfolk rivals Norwich also find themselves in the mire as they remained unable to match their Carter Cup and Norfolk Twenty20 exploits in the EAPL.
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A five-wicket loss at Saffron Walden has left the dual cup semi-finalists just eight points off the bottom. They can take some heart from an admirable batting display which saw them set 230 for victory. Sam Pointer led from the top with a fine knock which was ended just two short of a century. Healthy partnerships with Russell Emmanuel (scored 43 in a second-wicket stand of 67), Ben Hutchinson (33, 81) and Will Kennard (24, 36) showed he wasn't alone. Unfortunately, the batting-friendly track equally suited the hosts as their own top man Mark Pettini (84) was guided along just nicely by a host of his compatriots.
Great Witchingham were leapfrogged in the standings by Vauxhall Mallards who shot up to fourth as a result of their home eight-wicket triumph against Cambridge Granta. Paul Bradshaw's stunning 5-24 did the damage while Brett Stolworthy's superb 4-14 ensured the Ducks needed less than 100 to win.
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The Witches, now fifth, were beaten by two wickets at home to Frinton-on-Sea. James Spelman (72) and Johannes Diseko (4-40) were their standout performers but it was the visitors who begin the week in third position and leading the charge to catch the top two.
Swardeston's lead at the summit was cut to 12 as they could only draw against Burwell. Set 296-8, the area's dominant force were only 18 short of the victory target when the day's 120 overs had been played.
Pakistani all-rounder Mohammad Wajihuddin was the most prolific with bat (78) and ball (3-51). Nearest challengers Copdock & Ipswichian, who Swardeston beat last weekend, thumped Woolpit by eight wickets.