Horsford are the early pace-setters

GIBBS DENLEY EAPL: Horsford have underlined their determination to be Norfolk's EAPL flag-bearers by taking up the early season running. After two weeks the table has something of a topsy-turvy look about it with Horsford, the most lowly members of the Norfolk sextet last season, and Witchingham stealing the limelight from last season's top two - champions Vauxhall Mallards and Norwich.

Horsford have underlined their determination to be Norfolk's EAPL flag-bearers by taking up the early season running.

After two weeks the table has something of a topsy-turvy look about it with Horsford, the most lowly members of the Norfolk sextet last season, and Witchingham stealing the limelight from last season's top two - champions Vauxhall Mallards and Norwich.New signing Christopher Sabburg was Horsford's batting hero, starring with a century as they despatched Essex outfit Halstead by 169 runs. The Australian ace's 103, compiled in 155 balls, was the cornerstone of a 234 total. His effort contained 14 fours and rescued the team after they were reduced to 23-2.

While others around him lost their wickets left-hander Sabburg remained solid, eventually departing as ninth man down on 212.

Halstead's reply went from bad to worse, and there were no meaningful partnerships as the side, which only narrowly avoided the relegation fate suffered by Godmanchester last season, stumbled to a paltry 65 all out in the 41st over.

Reliable spinner Chris Brown, narrowly beaten by Swardeston's George Walker in the race to be leading league wicket-taker last season, bagged another four for his collection with 4 for 11 from 11.4 overs.

Witchingham's opening duo James Spelman and Carl Rogers enjoyed a 152-run partnership, laying the foundation for an impressive 304-2 total in the derby against Norwich at Ingham.

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Skipper Spelman made 86, while Rogers went on to complete an unbeaten 127 in an innings which saw only four men visit the crease. Sam Arthurton was run out for 50 as Norwich laboured in the face of a strokeplay onslaught.

Norwich had to hang on grimly to earn a draw, closing on 223-9 as batting heroes Spelman and Rogers took the upper hand with the ball to claim six wickets with their deadly spin.

Norwich's reply owed much to a solid century opening partnership between Harry Bush (51) and Oliver Higenbottam (48) as well as a tenacious unbeaten 24 from tailender Aaron Watson, well suported by last man Paul Wiseman (6 no).

The prolific Rogers was pleased with Witches' early-season showing. 'It was good and we've started off well in the first couple of games, by posting 304 on Saturday, me managing to get 100 and one or two of the other lads got some runs as well.

'James got 80 and Sam got 50, so it's been a good start for us and we hope we can carry it on.'

Peter Lambert top-scored with 84 as Swardeston posted a 249 total after being put in to bat at Saffron Walden.

But the Norfolk side hit middle order resistance in the form of Charlie Knightley, who saw his side to a draw with an unbeaten 68 in the 162-6 total.

Last season's runaway champions Vauxhall Mallards put their first victory of the season on the board beating Cambridgeshire newcomers Burwell by 62 runs.

Mallards looked in trouble at 46-4 after being put in to bat but middle order men Usman Ashgar (67) and Peter Free (51) steadied the ship with a 96 run partnership in a 250-9 total.

Ex-Zimbabwe international Grant Flower led Burwell's 188-run reply with 77 before becoming one of five victims for paceman Paul Bradshaw. The former Norfolk captain returned excellent figures of 5 for 16 from 10.4 overs.

He had earlier underlined his value with the bat, contributing an unbeaten 36 at number nine.

There was more misery for Fakenham as they slumped to a demoralising eight-wicket defeat at Bury St Edmunds.

The hosts' decision to bowl first proved fully justified as Fakenham were in trouble at 37-3.

A rally inspired by Stephen Gray (33) took the score to 72 but the rot set in and the Norfolk side succumbed to 113 all out in 40 overs.

Bury made light work of reaching the total in the 28th over, losing two wickets.

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