Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League: Vauxhall Mallards close in on Swardeston
The weather worked in Vauxhall Mallards' favour as Christiaan Schoeman's maiden century for the club saw them close the gap on leaders Swardeston to a single point.
Mallards won by eight wickets at bottom side Halstead, while leaders Swardeston saw their match at home to Burwell abandoned near the halfway stage, allowing the Brundall side to move within touching distance.
Mallards opted to bowl first and soon had Halstead in trouble as skipper Paul Bradshaw struck two early blows.
Halstead struggled to 136 for eight before some late resistance from Thomas Philp (27) was ended by Stuart Lipshaw. The spinner went on to match Bradshaw's figures of three for 33 as Halstead were all out for 168 in the 59th over.
Mallards' reply started shakily as David Turner and Matt Plater fell early to leave the hosts on 12 for two.
The ever-reliable Carl Amos was joined by Schoeman and the pair steered Mallards home in the 36th over with an unbroken third wicket stand of 159. Amos (43no from 105 balls) played the anchor role as South African Schoeman cut loose, hitting 18 fours and a six in his 107no from 88 balls, comfortably surpassing his previous best league score of 69no.
Swardeston were put into bat at The Common and struggled to 42 for four after Marlon Richards (three for 42) ripped through the top order.
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Callum Taylor (16) and Ian Tufts (21) added 29 for the fifth wicket but at 91 for seven George Walker (25) was joined by skipper Mark Thomas (30no) and they turned the innings around, adding 39 for the eighth wicket. Walker fell to the first ball after a lengthy rain break, but Michael Eccles added a quickfire 12no before another shower put paid to any chance of a result.
Time ran out on Horsford's victory bid at Saffron Walden, but they remain firmly in the title picture after Saturday's draw.
After choosing to bat first, Horsford quickly slumped to 37 for three, including the key wicket of Australian Chris Sabburg for 30.
Steady middle order contributions from James Wild (32), Nathan Perry-Warnes (23) and Matthew Wilkinson (20) helped Horsford recover and they were boosted by an unbroken eighth wicket stand of 37 between skipper Chris Brown (24no) and Darren Smith (16).
Chasing 172 for victory, Walden seemed doomed at 77 for six, with Wild collecting three wickets. A partnership of 63 between Charlie Knightley (43) and Joe Barrs (28) proved crucial as the hosts finished on 141 for eight, Wild claiming four for 32.
Great Witchingham picked up their second successive win with a 71-run victory at Clacton.
Carl Rogers (53) and James Hale (58) provided a solid platform for the visitors after they had been put into bat. The innings tailed away as Witchingham lost their last six wickets for 34 runs, Jonathan Spelman the last man out for 28 in a total of 194.
Willie Lonsdale took three quick wickets to reduce the hosts to 16 for four.
Jonathan Spelman ensured there was little lower order resistance as he followed the previous week's five-wicket haul by taking four for 35. Clacton skipper Ben France (70) held the innings together, but he was the last man out with the score on 123, giving Lonsdale his fourth wicket.