Gibbs Denley EAPL: Swardeston extend their advantage

Swardeston underlined their determination to recapture the EAPL title they last won in 2008 as they extended their title race lead to 18 points.

And they will be looking to make further gains when they travel to the home of their nearest pursuers Saffron Walden next Saturday.

A three-wicket victory over bottom-of-the-table Halstead at The Common saw Swardeston increase their advantage.

After being invited to bat by Mark Thomas, Halstead's Tom Philp (38) added 28 with Neale Dakin for the first wicket and 33 with Daniel Sincuba for the second.

Wickets then fell at a steady rate with only Mark Johnson (53 not out) providing any resistance. George Walker and Michael Eccles picked up four wickets each as the visitors were dismissed for 134 in the 55th over.

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Swardeston's pursuit of the modest total was not all plain sailing as they lost wickets steadily.

Michael Parlane top-scored with 40 and Peter Lambert hit a run-a-ball 25 but it was down to Ian Tufts to see the league leaders home with an unbeaten 24.

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With Horsford's game at Clacton called off on Friday, the remaining Norfolk team action was to be found at Walcis Park, where Witchingham entertained Vauxhall Mallards.

Unfortunately for the Witches it was a day when they enhanced an unwanted growing reputation as draw specialists which is undermining their bid to improve on last season's best-ever second place.

Their search for a win ended in their fifth stalemate of the current campaign as they ended 35 runs adrift of the Mallards total with two wickets in hand.

Christian Schloeman's brisk unbeaten 69, featuring five fours and four sixes, had proved the lynchpin of the Mallards 208-6 total after opener Carl Amos had weighed in with 48. Witchingham's reply got off to the worst possible start when accomplished openers James Spelman and Carl Rogers were removed cheaply, leaving them 11-2. But they were rescued by Sam Arthurton who showed great maturity before being dislodged by Martin Addison five runs short of a hard-earned century.

Young spinner James Hale kept his head with the bat while others around him perished, scoring 32 which proved to be the major stumbling block to Mallards' chances of victory.

Meanwhile an unbeaten 93 from former England Test player Jason Gallian helped Saffron Walden to climb from fourth to second place as newcomers Copdock and Old Ipswichians slipped a place to third.

Former Australia Under 19 player Glen Batticciotto claimed four wickets as Copdock posted 201, featuring 46 from Martyn Cull and 59 from Chris Swallow.

Batticciotto helped to put the reply on track with 44 before the experienced Gallian saw his side over the line in the 65th over with three wickets in hand.

Christopher Lomas (90) and Simon Rees (90 not out) dominated a sizeable 279-3 Bury total in a drawn encounter at the Victory Ground with reigning champions Cambridge Granta. Mark Nunn claimed four wickets as the visitors held on at 175-7 with Rory Darkins hitting a half century.

• Great Witchingham (7 pts) drew with Vauxhall Mallards (13) at Walcis Park.

Vauxhall Mallards: C Amos c Collishaw b Rogers 43, D Turner c Groves b JM Spelman 13, M Platter c Groves b Hale 28, C Schoeman not out 69, A Shearer b JO Spelman 3, C Sanderson c Groves b JO Spelman 17, J Larter c Collishaw b Lonsdale 13, P Bradshaw not out 9; extras 12. Total (6 wkts, 55 overs) 208. Bowling: W Lonsdale 10-0-51-1, JM Spelman 15-4-29-1, C Rogers 13-0-37-1, J Hale 9-1-35-1, JO Spelman 8-0-50-2.

Great Witchingham: JM Spelman b Addison 2, C Rogers c Larter b Bradshaw 7, S Arthurton jnr c Bradshaw b Addison 95, T Collishaw c-b Schoeman 3, J Hale c Bradshaw b Lipshaw 32, T Allan c Stolworthy b Schoeman 3, S Arthurton snr b Lipshaw 7, W Lonsdale c Larter b Bradshaw 8, JO Spelman not out 2, Sam Groves not out 1; extras 13. Total (8 wickets, 49 overs) 174. Bowling: P Bradshaw 10-2-20-2, M Addison 8-0-32-2, B Stolworthy 7-1-18-0, C Schoeman 15-1-55-2, S Lipshaw 9-2-37-2.

• Swardeston (25) beat Halstead (3) by 3 wickets at The Common.

Halstead: N Dakin lbw Eccles 9, T Philp b Walker 38, D Sincuba lbw Walker 16, F Preston lbw Thomas 1, M Johnson not out 53, E Clark b Walker 0, Walter c Gray b Walker 0, D Elsbury lbw Thomas 6, A Morris b Eccles 0, J Morris lbw Eccles 0, C Hansey b Eccles 2; extras 9. Total (all out , 54.4 overs) 134. Bowling: M Eccles 16.4-4-38-4, S Dyer 8-2-19-0, M Thomas 15-5-34-2, G Walker 12-5-23-4, M Parlane 3-0-16-0.

Swardeston: M Parlane b Philp 40, C Taylor c Elsbury b Clark 2, S Gray Llbw Philp 7, P Lambert b Preston 25, R Sims b Preston 8, J Elliott b Elsbury 12, I Tufts not out 24, G Walker b Elsbury 3, M Eccles not out 4; extras 10. Total (7 wickets, 35.5 overs) 135. Bowling: T Philp 13.5-1-59 2, E Clark 7-0-27-1, F Preston 7-1-32-2, D Elsbury 8-2-15-2.

• Bury St Edmunds (14) drew with Cambridge Granta (5) at Victory Ground.

Bury St Edmunds: T Huggins st Hunter-Jordan b Darkins 66, S Ward c C Park b Hill 22, C Lomas c S Park b C Park 90, S Rees not out 90, J Bishop not out 1; extras 10. Total (3 wickets, 66 overs) 279. Bowling: R Woolley 12-2-34-0, S Park 11-0-40-0, C Park 9-0-39-1, R Singh 3-0-14-0, L Hill 13-0-64-1, T Clarke 10-1-52-0, R Darkins 8-1-31-1.

Cambridge Granta: R Darkins c Bellward b Nunn 53, J Atkinson c Rash b Nunn 24, A Fullarton b Nunn 3, C Park c Ward b Huggins 23, S Park lbw Huggins 5, R Woolley c Rees b Huggins 26, T Clarke c Bellward b Nunn 1, J Hunter-Jordan not out 11, Lewys Hill not out 11; extras 18. Total (7 wickets, 57 overs) 175. Bowling: J Bishop 8-0-34-0, T Rash 8-3-13-0, M J Nunn 16-4-61-4, T Huggins 18-7-36-3, C Lomas 7-1-29-0.

• Saffron Walden (25) beat Copdock & Old Ipswichian (9) by 3 wickets at Copdock.

Copdock & Old Ipswichian: A Gravell lbw Batcheler 10, C Viljoen c Batticciotto b Batcheler 6, M Cull lbw b Batticciotto 46, J Cawkwell c Laws b Batticciotto 18, C Swallow b Batticciotto 59, F Ward b Ecclestone 1, H Thomas b Batcheler 13, J Kingstone c Knightley b Batcheler 5, JP East c Laws b Ecclestone 8, T Jenkin c Sneath b Batticciotto 9, JR East not out 8; extras 18. Total (all out, 54.3 overs) 201. Bowling: N Batcheler 18-2-48-4, J Sneath 10-0-29-0, G Batticciotto 15-1-64-4, B Powell 4-0-32-0, G Ecclestone 4.3-2-6-2, R Hassan 2-0-9-0, A Gale 1-1-0-0.

Saffron Walden: A Laws lbw Viljoen 2, G Ecclestone c JR East b Swallow 16, G Batticciotto b Jenkin 44, J Gallian not out 93, S Parmenter lbw JR East 7, R Hassan c Jenkin b JR East 3, C Knightley b Viljoen 12, A Gale b JR East 10, J Sneath not out 15; extras 3. Total (7 wickets, 64.2 overs) 205. Bowling: JP East 12-1-49-0, C Viljoen 18-3-51-2, C Swallow 18-2-33-1, T Jenkin 5-0-17-1, JR East 11.2-0-54-3.

• Clacton (7) v Horsford (7) match abandoned without a ball being bowled.

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