East Anglian Premier League: Vauxhall Mallards’ last pair secure a dramatic win
Vauxhall Mallards were indebted to a brave 10th wicket partnership between Brett Stolworthy and Paul Bradshaw as they clinched a dramatic win over Sudbury – after appearing to have thrown away their chance of victory.
A four wicket haul from the ever reliable Bradshaw had helped Mallards dismiss their visitors for just 184, and when they passed 90 without loss in reply a comfortable success looked on the cards.
But it was anything but that in the end as the Sudbury bowlers got to work, with nine wickets falling in no time at all as 92-0 became 145-9. At that stage the Suffolk side looked odds on to claim the spoils, but Norfolk player Brett Stolworthy had survived the carnage and had an excellent No 11 for company in the shape of Bradshaw. Slowly but surely the pair began to edge Mallards towards their modest target and they kept their nerve to put on an unbroken 42 for the last wicket, with Stolworthy finishing on 42 and Bradshaw 10.
It was another good day for leaders Swardeston who moved 47 points clear of main rivals Cambridge Granta after cruising to a 128 run win at Bury St Edmunds. The hosts had former Swardeston man Callum Taylor, now on Essex's books, in their line-up, but it made little difference as the defending champions turned in another strong performance.
After losing three quick wickets around the 50 mark, the visitors' middle order did their team proud, with four scores between 48 and 60 taking Mark Thomas's side all the way up to 296. Joe Gatting got the ball rolling by scoring 51 in 42 balls while Lewis Denmark, Freddie Ruffell and Jason Reynolds also made important contributions.
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Sean Park made 45 for Bury but it soon became clear that they would be getting nowhere near their target. The Suffolk side were eventually all out for just 167, with Gatting wrapping things up by claiming three wickets in 13 balls without conceding a single run.
Granta also won, edging past Woolpit by three wickets, but lost more ground after picking up five fewer bonus points than the leaders.
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The crucial derby at the foot of the table between Great Witchingham and Horsford ended in a draw after a heavy shower had taken precious time out of the game.
Horsford turned in a solid batting effort to make 227-8 in the 58 overs available with Stephan Marillier (67) and Ben France (41) putting on 103 for the fifth wicket. The visitors looked well placed when openers James Spelman and Sam Arthurton both went cheaply but the hosts then knuckled down to secure a draw, finishing on 159-7 in 52 overs, despite the sterling efforts of France (4-47).
Brenton McDonald followed up his 4-49 with a top score of 47 as Witchingham maintained a 27-point advantage over their struggling neighbours.
Norwich turned in a disappointing display at Burwell to go down by 137 runs. Pete Richer, Joe Tetley and Ben Seabrook all scored half centuries to help the hosts reach 268 and that was more than enough, with Norwich being bowled out for 131 in just 28 overs. Skipper Ashley Watson certainly did his bit, with figures of 4-49 and a top score of 30.