East Anglian Premier League: Swardeston edge tense derby with Vauxhall Mallards
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
Swardeston kept their nerve in a tense Norfolk derby encounter at Halvergate to move up to fourth place in the early Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League table.
The defending champions eventually got home by just two wickets against Vauxhall Mallards as the hosts defended their modest total of 155 all out with great spirit.
An in-from Paul Bradshaw led the Mallards' fightback by taking four wickets for 28, while Brett Stolworthy finished with 2-36.
But Swardeston dug in, with wicket-keeper Stephen Gray making a priceless 56 and Jeremy Elliott (33) and Lewis Denmark (23) then building on his fine work.
It proved to be just enough and enabled the visitors to move three points above Mallards in the table, with just Cambridge Granta, Copdock and Ipswichian and morning leaders Bury St Edmunds now above them after five matches.
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After being put into bat Mallards slid to 7-3 and then 71-7 before an eighth wicket partnership between Harry Barker (45) and Stolworthy gave them something realistic to defend.
Michael Eccles and Tom Oxley both took three wickets for Swardeston, while Mark Thomas and Joe Gatting weighed in with two apiece.
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Granta are the new leaders by eight points after coming out on top in a high-scoring game at Walcis Park, where 475 runs were made on a glorious day for cricket.
Great Witchingham could not have made a better start after being asked to bat first, with Sam Arthurton (93) and James Spelman (59) putting on 149 for the first wicket.
The Witches finished on 237-5, with Ben Briggs (28 not out) and Jonathan Spelman (25) providing some late impetus – but it was not enough to set up a first success of the season.
Granta's batsmen also shone in the unbroken sunshine and they got home with plenty of overs to spare, with Chris Pepper (72) top scoring.
Horsford and Norwich also remain winless and at the wrong end of the table after suffering defeats on the road at Burwell and Copdock and Ipswichian respectively.
In each case the Norfolk side batted first and failed to accumulate an adequate total, with the opposition then going on to win with some ease.
Horsford were dismissed for 204, with Matt Spenceley making 33 and Ben France 30, and an unbroken partership of 101 between Pete Richer (96 not out) and Ben Seabrook (51 not out) then saw the hosts home.
Despite a fine effort from Will O'Donnell, who made 71, Norwich could only make 186 and although they lost a couple of batsmen early on Copdock got home by five wickets to move up to second, with Dewald Botha contributing 62.
Early pacesetters Bury, who were without the services of Essex starlet Callum Taylor, suffered a surprise seven wicket defeat at home to Frinton.
The hosts could only make 179 and Frinton overhauled that modest target in some style. The defeat saw Bury drop to third place in the table, just six points above Swardeston, with the two sides meeting at The Common on Saturday.