Leaders Swardeston lose - but other results go their way
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2014
Swardeston suffered a shock defeat at the hands of relegation threatened Bury St Edmunds – but remain 37 points clear at the top of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League table with just three matches left to play.
Mark Thomas' side were grateful to see other results go their way at the weekend as they were beaten by 39 runs at the Victory Ground, with Cambridge Granta and Vauxhall Mallards also losing games they might have expected to win.
Granta went down by 48 runs to Norwich, who gave their survival hopes a huge boost as a result, while Mallards failed to build on three successive maximum hauls after being dismissed for just 94 by Great Witchingham.
As a result Frinton, who beat Woolpit, are now Swardeston's closest challengers, although Granta and Mallards are still just about in touch, with the latter set to visit the defending champions next Saturday.
A partnership of 124 for the fifth wicket between Michael Comber (85) and Sean Park (57) formed the basis of Bury's solid effort of 225-7 as George Walker and Thomas both weighed in with three-wicket hauls.
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Swardeston were looking good at 126-3, but once Lewis Denmark (42) and Richard Sims (43) went it was a struggle, and despite a battling unbeaten 31 from Walker they came up well short.
Excellent all-round performances from skipper Ashley Watson and Ben Hutchinson helped Norwich to an important success over Granta at Ingham.
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Hutchinson made an unbeaten 60 and Watson 46 as the hosts reached 221-8 and the pair then shone with the ball as Granta were all out for 175, after Raj Singh's 59 had helped them recover from 87-7.
Watson took 5-34 and Hutchinson 4-25.
Mallards toiled for over 56 overs to reach 94 in the face of an impressive bowling display from Great Witchingham, with only Brett Stolworthy (28) and Paul Bradshaw (23) getting past 20.
Everywhere you looked there were excellent figures, with Brenton McDonald taking 4-16, James Spelman 2-16, Philip King 2-24 and James Hale 1-19 from 19 overs.
Spelman led the way with an unbeaten 42 as the Witches got home with wickets and time to spare.
At the bottom of the table Bury's surprise win lifted them three places, with Saffron Walden now occupying the relegation position and Woolpit just points above them.
Norwich are 24 points clear of trouble after their success while Horsford, five points above them, are still looking over their shoulders after losing to Copdock and Ipswichian.
Some good batting down the order from Darren Smith (53) and Tim Alexander (33) helped lift their total to 186 after Ben France had made 48 earlier in the innings but it was still not enough, with the Suffolk side cruising to victory for the loss of four wickets. Martyn Cull top-scored with 58.