Great Witchingham take advantage as Mallards and Swardeston draw
East Anglian Premier League: Great Witchingham took full advantage of a stalemate at Swardeston to propel themselves to the top of the table with victory over Cambridge Granta.
While Swardeston and Vauxhall Mallards were playing out a draw, Witchingham's 97-run win against the reigning champions put them 14 points clear at the top.
Witchingham chose to bat first and they were heavily reliant on half-centuries from Sam Arthurton (58) and his father, Shaun (66no). James Page (21) crucially stayed with Shaun at the end of the innings to help push the final total up to 223 for nine.
Granta struggled in reply as five of their top seven were dismissed for single figure scores, with Carl Rogers picking up three for six in nine overs.Ryan McCone returned to the attack to polish off the Granta lower order, taking four for 57 as the Cambridge side were all out for 126 in the 53rd over.
The keenly anticipated clash between Swardeston and Mallards failed to live up to its billing as Mallards batted out for a draw.
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Swardeston opted to bat first and opener Joel Abraham led the way with 68, adding 78 for the third wicket with Jaden Hatwell (35). Four quick wickets after lunch saw Swardeston fall from 138 for three to 159 for seven, but an eighth-wicket stand of 55 between George Walker (32) and skipper Mark Thomas (32) helped push their side up to 223 all out.
Richard Moores was Mallards' leading bowler with four for 55, while Martin Addison claimed three for 59 and Mallards' skipper Paul Bradshaw was unusually expensive, his two wickets coming at a cost of 75 runs.
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Mallards were always behind the rate in reply, as their innings was built around a patient 71 from opener David Turner, who batted for 198 balls to register his first EAPL half-century.
He just failed to bat through, and was the last wicket to fall as Mallards closed on 181 for seven from 61 overs. Spinner Jaden Hatwell (three for 25) led the attack for Swardeston, with Sam Thelwell picking up two for 31.
Norwich's hopes of rising from the bottom of the table nose-dived as they suffered a narrow three-wicket defeat at Sudbury.
The visitors were again heavily reliant on the batting efforts of Chris Borrett as he top scored with 41, and Ben Wright (34) was the only other batsman to add a significant score. Norwich were dismissed for 124 in the 31st over as Jonathan Gallagher, Kandage Fernando and Matthew Hunn all took three wickets.
Spinner Ashley Watson opened the bowling for Norwich and he struck immediately to remove Peter Siegert, before Borrett followed up with the early wicket of fellow opener Alistair Younger.
Sudbury then recovered and reached 86 before Ben Flanagan dismissed home skipper Darren Batch (58) to spark a collapse. The hosts stumbled to 110 for seven before former Sri Lankan Test player Fernando, who played for Mallards in 2009, hit an unbeaten 23 to guide them to victory in the 39th over.
Elsewhere, Bury St Edmunds skipper Justin Bishop took five for 45 but his side's batsmen folded in a 67-run defeat at home to Saffron Walden.
Ben France hit 106no for Clacton, but Matthew Spatcher replied with an unbeaten 161 as Halstead claimed a draw to increase the gap between themselves and Norwich at the bottom.
Horsford dropped to third after their match at Burwell was abandoned without a ball being bowled.