Eccles rips heart out of Mallards

A devastating opening burst from pace bowler Michael Eccles set Swardeston up for a crucial derby victory over local rivals Vauxhall Mallards at Brundall on Saturday.

A devastating opening burst from pace bowler Michael Eccles set Swardeston up for a crucial derby victory over local rivals Vauxhall Mallards at Brundall on Saturday.

Eccles, who was drafted into the Norfolk squad as a replacement for injured skipper Paul Bradshaw for today's game in Staffordshire, ripped out the Mallards top three batsmen with only 27 on the board and the hosts were unable to recover in their pursuit of Swardeston's 220 all out.

The 85-run victory maintained Swardeston's perfect record so far this season and they top the table, 25 points clear of reigning champions Bury and now 43 points ahead of Mallards - a gap which, even at this early stage, may prove impossible for the Brundall side to claw back.

Swardeston batted first and although Loyala Herathge made 30 and Jaden Hatwell top scored with 46, it was the lower order who made the vital contributions.

The visitors were perilously placed on 106 for six, but Ian Tufts (33), George Walker (36) and skipper Mark Thomas (21) helped swell the total to 220 in 55.3 overs.

Although Bradshaw did play for Mallards, he was unable to bowl and Rob Frylinck was their main threat with four wickets, while occasional bowler Peter Free polished off the innings with three victims.

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Mallards were then left reeling when Eccles removed Carl Amos, Rob Purton and Luke Newton cheaply - all bowled - and Thomas had the hard-hitting Frylinck caught behind for 14.

Free (28) tried to repair the damage but he eventually fell to Hatwell and although Richard Moores also made 28, Mallards tumbled to 135 all out in the 34th over, Thomas finishing with his second five-wicket haul of the season.

Predictably, Bury are in hot pursuit of the leaders after their eight-wicket win over Horsford at Manor Park.

Horsford batted first and were in all manner of trouble at 58 for seven. Skipper Paul Newman then joined Sri Lankan Duminda Perera in an eighth-wicket partnership of 38 to push the score towards three figures. But it was a last wicket stand of 68 between Perera and C Weber that allowed Horsford to reach the respectability of 167 all out.

Defending that small total, the hosts opened the bowling with experienced duo Newman and leg spinner Chris Brown and Brown removed Tom Huggins for 16.

Bury took their time in reaching their target, but always had wickets in hand and half-centuries from Tobias Hembry and Paul Grayson saw them home in the 50th over.

Fakenham's batting again crumbled as they were bowled out for under 100 for the third time this season, in their defeat at home to Great Witchingham.

Lance Shaw and Stuart Evans did the early damage to reduce Fakenham to 17 for three. Skipper Michael Smith again provided the main resistance as he made 52 and last man Ben Smart (11no) was the only other batsman to reach double figures in a total of 93 all out.

Witchingham openers Carl Rogers and James Spelman scored more than half of the required runs in an opening stand of 50. There was a slight wobble as Rogers (41), Spelman (18), Ryan Taylor and Shaun Arthurton were all dismissed, but Sam Arthurton (11no) and captain Dennis Rogers (7no) guided Witchingham to a six-wicket win.

Norwich skipper Chris Borrett hit a century as his side took the lion's share of the points from their draw at Godmanchester.

Borrett smashed 101 in Norwich's 250 for six, with Oliver Higenbottam making an unbeaten 31.

Surappulige Malinga and Paul Wiseman claimed an early wicket apiece in the Godmanchester reply, but Norwich were thwarted by a third-wicket stand of 125 between Paul Swannell (60) and Matt Pateman (73).

They were eventually parted and although Wiseman returned to claim three more wickets, there was not enough time for Norwich to force a victory and Godmanchester closed on 201 for seven.

In the other EAPL match, Clacton bowled Cambridge Granta out for just 63 and won by eight wickets.