Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League: Swardeston close in on title

Three Norfolk clubs remain in contention for the EAPL title after victories on Saturday – but another win this weekend could see Swardeston crowned as champions.

Mark Thomas' side secured maximum points with a 102-run win at home to Saffron Walden and they now stand 33 points clear of Horsford and 34 ahead of Vauxhall Mallards, who they play on the final day on Saturday week.

Swardeston were put into bat at The Common and were indebted to a third wicket partnership of 122 between Michael Parlane and Peter Lambert.

Lambert fell just before lunch for 67 – his top score in the league this summer – but Parlane went on to reach his century from 156 balls. He eventually departed for 124, having struck 15 fours and four sixes, but Jeremy Elliott (24no) and skipper Mark Thomas (31no) added 54 as Swardeston declared on 307 for seven from 63 overs.

In reply Saffron Walden were soon struggling with Michael Eccles picking up the wickets of Alex Jackson, caught at slip by Lambert, and Giles Ecclestone, caught behind, in his third and fourth overs.

George Walker and Thomas struck twice each and Eccles grabbed another as Walden limped to 148 for seven, but Andrew Gale (40no) and Stephen Larsen looked set to frustrate the hosts with a stand of 53.

With less than five overs remaining, Thomas finally removed Larsen, given out hit wicket, and the skipper then took the final two wickets to finish with five for 40 as Walden were all out for 205 in the 55th over.

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Horsford moved up to second after also collecting maximum points at Bury St Edmunds.

After being put into bat, Horsford had steady contributions from Matthew Spenceley (23), Jaik Mickleburgh (31) and Chris Sabburg (42). The middle order failed to fire, but James Leck (30no) helped Horsford reach 216 for eight from their 66 overs.

Horsford's spinners put them in command as James Wild and Chris Brown took two wickets each to reduce the hosts to 66 for four.

Bury rallied briefly, but Brown removed Simon Rees (36) and went on to take five for 50 as the hosts tumbled from 101 for four to 126 for eight.

Bury's late resistance was snuffed out by a wicket apiece from brothers Matthew and Michael Warnes as the home side were bowled out for 158 in the 56th over.

A magnificent display from Mallards opening bowlers Olly Stone and Paul Bradshaw killed off Copdock & Old Ipswichian's lingering title hopes as the Norfolk side won by 10 wickets.

Stone ripped out the top three batsmen after Mallards had chosen to bowl and Bradshaw then tore through the middle order. It needed a defiant 34no from number nine James East to push Copdock past three figures before they were all out for 126 in the 37th over. Stone took four for 36 and Bradshaw claimed six for 37 to pass 50 league wickets this season.

Mallards openers Carl Amos and David Turner patiently knocked off the required runs, both finishing on 58no as the visitors sealed victory in the 39th over. Their reward for such a dominant display was five points less than Swardeston and Horsford, however, as Mallards batted second.

Great Witchingham suffered their first defeat since July 21 as Burwell won by six wickets at Walcis Park.

Witchingham slumped to 34 for four after choosing to bat, before skipper Tom Collishaw (34) tried to steer them out of trouble.

His dismissal sparked another collapse as they lost their last six wickets for 25 runs, finishing on 104 all out in the 51st over, Marlon Richards taking six for 22.

Willie Lonsdale struck with the first ball of the Burwell reply and Jonathan Spelman bagged two more wickets to leave them on 31 for three.

But Burwell recovered and Zimbabwean Glen Goosen hit 41no to guide them home in the 29th over.

Elsewhere, there were also victories for Clacton and Sudbury.