Gibbs Denley EAPL: Swardeston closing in on title

Swardeston need just one point against Vauxhall Mallards this Saturday to secure the East Anglian Premier League title – and it could be in the bag even before a ball is bowled at The Common.

Mallards' mission impossible to deny Swardeston on Saturday would involve them batting first, losing less than two wickets and then bowling Swardeston out for less than 150. But if Swardeston win the toss and choose to bat first – thereby denying Mallards a potential maximum points haul of 30 – the celebrations can begin before the game even starts.

Swardeston can also afford to finish level on points with Mallards, as they would claim the title by virtue of winning more games.

The difference between the two sides now stands at 29 points after both won on Saturday.

Swardeston won the toss at Copdock & Old Ipswichian and chose to bowl first.

Skipper Mark Thomas, pictured, led the way by removing both openers, before Martyn Cull and Ed Pope added 64 for the third wicket.

Michael Parlane had Cull (42) caught behind and George Walker then removed Pope (32) and skipper Chris Swallow (0) in consecutive overs, both caught at slip by Peter Lambert.

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When Jordan Taylor claimed a run out, the hosts had slumped from 112 for two to 123 for six.

James East (42) provided some stubborn lower order resistance before he became one of two victims for Michael Eccles, and Thomas returned to take the last two wickets, finishing with four for 54 in Copdock's total of 201 all out.

Swardeston openers Jordan Taylor and Parlane put on 54 before the latter (31) was dismissed lbw. Stephen Gray (40) added 72 with Taylor, who went on to complete his second EAPL half-century, before being caught behind down the leg side immediately afterwards.

The dismissal of Jeremy Elliott and Lambert left the visitors on 153 for five, but Callum Taylor (26no) and Ian Tufts (23no) saw Swardeston home in the 58th over.

Mallards closed the gap slightly with a maximum points haul at home to Burwell.

The hosts were put into bat and openers Carl Amos and David Turner put on 79 before Amos fell for 25.

Turner hit 66 from 109 balls, including 13 fours, but four quick wickets saw Mallards tumble to 125 for five.

Christiaan Schoeman (37) dug in and a breezy 26 from number nine Tom Brice helped Mallards reach 212 for nine from their 66 overs.

Olly Stone quickly had Daniel Jones caught behind in the Burwell reply and added two more early wickets and a run out as the visitors struggled to 51 for six.

Henry James (51no) and Marlon Richards (35) briefly stemmed the tide, before Stuart Lipshaw took a caught and bowled chance to remove Richards with the score on 94.

Brice claimed two wickets to ensure the tail did not wag and Stone wrapped things up with his fourth wicket as Burwell were all out for 133 in the 38th over.

Horsford's title challenge ended despite their three-wicket win at home to Sudbury.

The visitors opted to bat first and recovered from nine for three to post 180 for eight.

James Poulson top scored with 62, while there were impressive bowling displays from Norfolk duo Luke Caswell (three for 41) and Chris Brown (three for 35).

As Horsford passed 50, both Jaik Mickleburgh (16) and Caswell (10) had fallen, but Matthew Spenceley (37), Chris Sabburg (48) and James Wild (41) put the hosts on course as they reached 146 for three.

A late flurry of wickets saw Sudbury offered a glimmer of hope, but Horsford reached their target in the 42nd over.

Great Witchingham cruised to a nine-wicket win at reigning champions Cambridge Granta, who will finish second from bottom this year.

Willie Lonsdale (four for 26) and James Spelman (four for 37) destroyed Granta, who were all out for 108 in the 46th over.

After Spelman was dismissed early in the Witches' reply, Carl Rogers (56no) and Sam Arthurton (39no) comfortably secured victory in the 28th over with an unbroken stand of 95.