Marshall guides Mallards to victory over Swardeston
Phil BanyardGIBBS DENLEY EAPL: A brilliant century from James Marshall ignited Vauxhall Mallard's title defence as old rivals Swardeston were crushed at Brundall on Saturday. The New Zealand Test player struck 131 from 143 balls, including 21 fours and a six after the hosts had elected to bat first.Phil Banyard
A brilliant century from James Marshall ignited Vauxhall Mallard's title defence as old rivals Swardeston were crushed at Brundall on Saturday.
The New Zealand Test player struck 131 from 143 balls, including 21 fours and a six after the hosts had elected to bat first. Opener Carl Amos just failed to maintain his sequence of half-centuries as he fell for 42, but from then on it was all about Marshall. His form to date had been steady rather than spectacular, but he chose the meeting with Mallards' long-standing adversaries to stamp his authority on the EAPL with his first league century of the summer.
His innings was supplemented by Richard Moores' breezy 49, including three sixes, as Mallards declared on an imposing 304 for eight from 65 overs. Swardeston skipper Mark Thomas did his best to restrict the flow of runs, taking three for 40, while Jaden Hatwell's three wickets proved more expensive.
Where Marshall had prospered, Swardeston's key batsmen floundered as the visitors were quickly reduced to 44 for five, after Martin Addison had removed both openers and then accounted for in-form Peter Lambert.
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Ian Tufts (40) and George Walker (29) finally demonstrated some of the renowned Swardeston fighting spirit, but their stand of 70 was broken when Alastair Turner bowled Tufts.
Turner quickly claimed two more victims and skipper Paul Bradshaw finished the job, taking his personal tally to three as Swardeston were all out for 117 in the 37th over.
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It was a similar story at Manor Park, where a century from Horsford's overseas star Chris Sabburg was followed by a limp batting display from Norwich.
After opting to bat first, Horsford were in trouble at 49 for three, before Sabburg and Luke Caswell put on a stand of 123. Australian Sabburg batted through to reach 122no from 162 balls, featuring 12 fours, while Caswell's crucial supporting 45 came from 110 deliveries. Patience was the key for Horsford as they finished on 218 for five from their 66 overs, with Aaron Watson and Chris Borrett each picking up two wickets.
Horsford skipper Chris Brown decided spin was the best option and opened the bowling with himself - a judgement that was proved sound as he swiftly sent Oliver Higenbottam and Harry Bush back to the pavilion. Caswell also struck twice and when Sabburg removed Ashley Watson, Norwich were facing humiliation at 26 for five.
Felix Flower, playing his first game of the season for Norwich, stopped the rot with 42, but when he was the seventh man out with just 83 on the board - Sabburg the wicket-taker - a Horsford victory was inevitable.
Brown returned to the attack to claim two more wickets, finishing with four for 23, as Norwich were bowled out for 88 in the 38th over.
Father and son Shaun and Sam Arthurton steered Great Witchingham back to winning ways with a six-wicket victory at Fakenham.
The hosts had chosen to bat first and after struggling to 89 for five, skipper Sean Cooper (45) and Joseph Pipkin (48) led a recovery. They were both dismissed by Witches skipper James Spelman, who claimed a five-wicket haul, as Fakenham managed 198 for nine from 66 overs.
Spelman then led the way with the bat, reaching 50 for the fourth time in the league this summer and after a brief wobble, it was left to Sam (45no) and Shaun (54no) to lead Witchingham home in the 54th over.
Cambridge Granta have gone top after a 56-run win at home to morning leaders Saffron Walden - a result which has kept the clutch of Norfolk clubs chasing the front two very much in title contention.
Michael Comber (81no) led Clacton to a seven-wicket win over Halstead, while Bury beat Burwell by the same margin.