East Anglian Premier League: Swardeston closing in on another title
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Swardeston stayed firmly on course for a fifth successive Gibbs Denley East Anglian League title when they recorded a resounding 110-run victory over fourth-placed Copdock and Old Ipswichian.
The defending champions went into the match on the back of a rare defeat, having been well beaten by Vauxhall Mallards in the final of the NW Brown Norfolk Twenty20 competition the previous evening.
But there was no sign of any hangover at The Common as Mark Thomas' side piled up an impressive total of 271 before bowling their Suffolk visitors out for just 161.
Closest challengers Cambridge Granta also won – with relegation haunted Horsford their victims – but picked up five fewer bonus points to slip 52 behind the leaders with just five rounds of matches to be played.
Swardeston's big total was built around a second wicket stand of 167 between Peter Lambert and Stephen Gray, with the former making 75 after his opening partner Jordan Taylor had gone for a duck and the latter getting to three figures before going for 105.
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Chris Warn made 55 in reply but Copdock never looked like getting anywhere near their target as Matthew Taylor wove his magic to finish with an impressive 6-52.
Granta also won with something to spare after restricting Horsford to 181-9 at Clare College. Opener Ben Claydon led the charge to victory with an unbeaten 92 after Stephan Marillier had top scored for the visitors with 52.
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The defeat left the Manor Park outfit 27 points adrift at the foot of the table, although defeats for fellow strugglers Great Witchingham and Woolpit softened the blow somewhat.
The Witches started well enough in their derby match against Norwich at Ingham as James Spelman (53) and Ben Briggs took them past 60 without loss, but once the partnership was broken it was tough going as Ashley Watson (6-52) turned the screw.
An all out total of 211 at least gave the visitors something to defend but Norwich got home with over 20 overs to spare, with Will O'Donnell (93, including eight sixes) and Oli Higenbottam (53) scoring the bulk of the runs.
Vauxhall Mallards did their struggling Norfolk neighbours a favour, and maintained their own promising season, by seeing off Woolpit by four wickets.
Left arm spinner Luke Caswell took 6-21 in 15.5 overs as the Suffolk side were bowled out for just 124 and contributed a timely unbeaten 27 to see his side home after the wickets had started to tumble following Mitchell Todd's half century.
• Swardeston bowed out of the national NatWest Club Twenty20 competition yesterday after a brave show in the regional finals day at Kibworth, Leicestershire yesterday.
The Norfolk trailblazers were beaten in the final by West Indian Cavaliers, who got home by eight wickets chasing a modest target of 121-8. Swardeston had won their semi-final in some style, with Joe Gatting scoring 100 in just 39 balls and Peter Lambert making 92 as they piled up an impressive 233-4 against Old Northamptonians before going on to win by 49 runs.