Norwich and Horsford do their survival hopes a power of good
- Credit: Archant
Struggling pair Norwich and Horsford did their East Anglian Premier League survival hopes a power of good by recording crucial home victories.
The sides hovering just above the relegation position at the start of the day were involved in very different games – but both emerged with a decent haul of points to pull away from basement team Bury St Edmunds, who were beaten at home by Vauxhall Mallards.
Norwich didn't have it all their own way against Burwell, and required a determined effort with the bat to get home by two wickets, while Horsford cruised to victory against Frinton, who were dismissed for just 58.
The game at Postwick was keenly contested throughout, with Burwell being restricted to 193 thanks mainly to some excellent bowling from the Watson brothers, with Ashley taking 4-38 and Aaron 3-38.
Olly Higgenbotham (37) and Sam Pointer (33) got Norwich's reply off to a steady start but Burwell were always in the game and when two wickets fell in quick succession to leave the hosts on 173-8 the result really was in the balance. Fortunately for Norwich they had a set batsman at the crease in Ben Hutchinson who completed an unbeaten 50 to see his side over the line.
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Horsford recorded a solid 212-7 at Manor Park, with Nathan Perry-Warnes and Ben France both making half centuries, and then turned on the style with the ball to bowl Frinton out inside 25 overs.
Star of the show was Norfolk all-rounder France, who followed up his important innings with figures of 5-13, while Ryan Findlay took 3-8 and Chris Brown 2-23.
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An excellent day for the Norfolk strugglers was complete when Vauxhall Mallards secured a thrilling nine-run win over Bury to go third. A topsy turvy encounter saw Mallards slump to 146-8 before an unbroken ninth wicket stand of 82 between Troy Allen and Paul Bradshaw complemented the earlier good work of Devon Conway (66) and lifted the visitors to a competitive 228-8.
In reply Bury recovered well from 81-5, with Mike Comber making 83, only to be dismissed for 221, with Bradshaw finishing with 7-55.
Swardeston stretched their lead at the top to 21 points following an excellent six wicket win at Woolpit.
The Suffolk outfit made a decent 224-8, with Sean Dickson contributing 83 and Michael Eccles taking 4-61, but it was not nearly enough, as Richard Sims (87 not out) and Mohammad Wajihuddin (43 not out) guided their side home with plenty of overs to spare.
A magnificent opening partnership of 264 between James Spelman and Sam Arthurton was not sufficient to earn a victory for Great Witchingham against Saffron Walden.
The Norfolk duo made 121 and 134 respectively, with 36 boundaries between them, with the Witches going on to reach 295-7.
Saffron Walden never threatened to win, but battled their way to a draw as they finished on 209-7, with Johannes Diseko taking five wickets.
Swardeston suffered national heartbreak on Sunday when they slid to a narrow defeat in the quarter-finals of the Royal London Club Championship.
Mark Thomas' side gave an excellent account of themselves with both bat and ball at Blackheath on the outskirts of London, only to lose an entertaining game of cricket by just 10 runs.
Having won the toss and decided to bowl the visitors did a good job to restrict their opponents to 230-9 from their 45 overs.
Michael Thornley and Dipaytan Paul both scored half centuries for the home side, while Matthew Taylor was the most successful bowler, taking 3-35 from his nine overs.
Tom Oxley backed him up with 2-42, while Richard Sims and Mark Thomas weighed in with a wicket apiece.
An asking rate of just over five an over certainly wasn't beyond Swardeston and Peter Lambert and Jordan Taylor got their effort off to a pleasing start with a first-wicket stand of 55.
The openers went for 38 and 23 respectively and the visitors then slipped to 100-5, with Stephen Gray and Lewis Denmark going cheaply and Sims making just 22.
Their target looked a tall order at that stage but then a sixth-wicket stand of 98 between Jeremy Elliott (51) and Matthew Taylor (56) gave them renewed hope of making the semi-finals.
Until the pair went in quick succession Swardeston, with wickets in hand, appeared slight favourites despite a tough run rate.
But the challenge was too great for the tail, with Blackheath finally wrapping up a hard-fought win off the first ball of the final over when young Tom Oxley was bowled by Warren Lee.