Lambert ton keeps Swardeston in hunt
Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League: Peter Lambert's maiden EAPL century kept Swardeston in the title hunt as they beat Halstead – but Vauxhall Mallards dropped out of contention with defeat at Sudbury.
Lambert, who has been out in the 90s three times this season, finally reached three figures during an opening stand of 192 with Jordan Taylor (58), who recorded his maiden league half-century.
Norfolk batsman Lambert went on to make 124 from 136 balls, with 17 fours and five sixes, before a breezy 42 from Richard Sims allowed Swardeston to declare on 314 for four from 55 overs at The Common.
Michael Eccles soon claimed the wicket of Halstead opener Amit Gupta, caught in the deep by Mark Thomas, before Sam Thelwell made further inroads into the top order with three wickets, leaving the visitors on 85 for four.
Spinners Jaden Hatwell and George Walker did the rest for Swardeston, Walker taking three for 29 and Hatwell two for 14 as Halstead were bowled out for 145 in the 40th over to hand the hosts a 169-run win.
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That maximum points success cut Cambridge Granta's lead to 35 points after they collected 25 points from a battling victory at Bury St Edmunds.
Chasing 169 to win, Granta were in trouble at 133 for five but the champions recovered to claim a two-wicket win – their fifth successive league victory.
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Mallards, who this week voiced their unhappiness at the decision to allow Granta to move their final game of the season forward due to their involvement in the National Club Championship, were undone by one of their former players at Sudbury.
Sri Lankan international Kandage Fernando played for Mallards in 2009, but he showed no mercy to his former team-mates as he claimed five for 19 to help dismiss the visitors for 152.
After opener David Turner retired not out early on feeling unwell, Mallards' Richard Goodenough had to retire hurt having been hit in the head by a Fernando delivery.
After the departure of Gerrie Snyman and Carl Amos, Peter Free (43) and Ali Shearer (60) rebuilt the innings with a stand of 96. But from 139 for three, Mallards slipped to 152 for nine, with Turner returning but failing to score and Goodenough unable to resume his innings.
Shearer replaced Goodenough behind the stumps as Mallards took to the field with 10 men, but they made a spirited attempt to defend their small total. Martin Addison claimed three middle order wickets to reduce the hosts to 133 for seven, but Sudbury went on to win in the 50th over.
Great Witchingham are not yet out of the title reckoning as their 21-run win over Norwich at Walcis Park pushed the visitors closer to relegation.
Witchingham opted to bat first and half-centuries from Carl Rogers (61) and Sam Arthurton (82) gave them a solid base. Rogers now needs 124 runs from the final two matches of the season to top the 1,000 mark this year. Ashley Watson collected three late wickets to finish with four for 45 as Witchingham closed on 231 for eight.
Harry Bush (42) and Chris Borrett (46) kept Norwich in contention and Watson added a swift 62 to his bowling exploits, but the visitors were all out for 210, with four wickets for Ryan McCone – taking him past 50 for the season – and three for Rogers.
Clacton's five-wicket win at Burwell means Norwich are now 34 points adrift of the Essex side at the bottom.
Saffron Walden allayed their relegation fears with an eight-wicket win at home to Horsford.
Reece O'Connell hit 50 for Horsford before Matthew Wilkinson's 41 and 46 from skipper Chris Brown gave the visitors a total of 212 all out.
Walden openers Joe Barrs (64) and Andrew Gale (67) put the hosts firmly on course with a stand of 124 and they went on to win in the 54th over.