East Anglian Premier League round-up: Slip-ups are a big boost for Norfolk trio
This morning's table makes for far better reading at the top and bottom for three of the county's sides, writes Gavin Caney.
Wins for title-chasing Swardeston plus struggling Horsford and Norwich were made all the more important by their closest rivals suffering defeats. The big boost to the three teams' causes has opened up a gap of 29 points at the summit and 26 at the other end of the standings – in favour of the Norfolk trio.
While second-placed Copdock & Ipswichian were edged out by 13 runs at Burwell, the league leaders made light work of their trip to Frinton-on-Sea. The hosts had got themselves into a reasonable position at 145-3 before they lost their next six wickets for 48 runs. Michael Eccles was the chief protagonist taking three scalps during his 13 overs while giving away only 34 runs.
Set 198-9, the champions never looked in danger of falling short once an outstanding opening partnership of 145 got them more than well on the road. Peter Lambert finally departed for 83 but Richard Sims was there at the end, alongside Callum Taylor (37) to carry his bat for 73.
In equally important circumstances, for different reasons, Norwich turned on the power to beat basement boys Bury St Edmunds. While it moved them further away from trouble, that success was equally helpful for rivals Horsford – the only other outfit below them in the EAPL – who gave themselves some breathing space by tasting derby joy against Vauxhall Mallards.
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At Postwick, Norwich successfully defended a total of 200 to inflict more misery on St Eds. They went into the game just 15 points ahead of their visitors, but ended it 32 clear. For the second week running, Sam Pointer led from the top to chalk up a priceless 60. While none of his compatriots threatened to make a half century, six others hit double figures to increase the home team's total.
At 108-4, and then 154-7, Bury looked to be in control until Pointer took centre stage once more. Two lightning quick dismissals removed a large chunk of the tail and Ashley Watson (3-36) did the rest to send the opponents' last man back for a duck and seal a crucial victory.
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Over at Manor Park, Horsford were making sure they took full advantage of Norwich's win by blowing Mallards away in spectacular fashion.
The Ducks completely fell apart at 129-2 to end on just 160 all out. Chris Brown (4-28), Ryan Findlay (3-37) and Caleb Futter (3-25) formed the unstoppable attack that left three Mallards players failing to register a run.
The early removals of Nathan Perry-Warnes (19) and Will Bryan (9) seemed to suggest there was plenty left in the pitch for the bowlers. However, Ben France (50) and Stephan Marillier (43) dug their heels in to help get Horsford over the line.
Elsewhere, Great Witchingham were beaten by 17 runs at Cambridge Granta. Chasing 273-7 declared, the Witches appeared to be on course until a mid-innings wobble harmed their chances.
Thomas Kuggeleijn (24 not out) and Kieran Bunting (12) did their best at the death but it was too little, too late.