Norwich back in hunt after late twist

Gibbs Denley EAPL: Norwich have hauled themselves back into the title race after an incredible two-run victory at Bury and Swardeston's shock defeat at Clacton.

Gibbs Denley EAPL: Norwich have hauled themselves back into the title race after an incredible two-run victory at Bury and Swardeston's shock defeat at Clacton.

Chasing Norwich's 245, Bury were struggling on 218 for nine, but a last wicket partnership of 25 between Philip Edwards and Simon Aldous left them needing four to win from the last two balls of the match.

They ran one off the penultimate ball and Ali Horsley's throw from fine leg evaded wicketkeeper Matthew Ede. As Edwards turned to see if a second run was possible, bowler Paul Wiseman gathered the loose ball and ran him out for 72, handing Norwich a dramatic win.

Skipper Chris Borrett said: “I thought we had lost it, it was an unbelievable game. We play Swardeston in the last game of the season, so if we win next week at Cambridge Granta it could set things up nicely.

“The league was set up to give big rewards to teams who bat first and win, so we've only ever been two good weeks away from catching up and that's what we've done in the last couple of weeks. I've never really ruled us out and Vauxhall Mallards are in it as well.”

Swardeston's woes against struggling sides resurfaced at the worst possible time as they were beaten by seven wickets at Clacton.

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Mark Thomas' side knew victory over the team second from bottom would leave Swardeston with one hand on the EAPL trophy, but instead they go into next weekend's penultimate match - against reigning champions Bury - with their lead cut to 14 points.

Earlier in the season, Swardeston lost to Horsford when they were bottom and they have also slipped up against basement club Fakenham. Trips to Clacton have yielded little joy for them in recent years and their cause was not helped when they discovered that the hosts had included Essex all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate. The Dutchman had been expected to miss the game because of county duty, but he was cleared to play after Essex's game at Southend finished a day early.

He took two wickets - including the key scalp of Jaden Hatwell for four - as the visitors crumbled to 49 for six, while Martin Smith did most of the damage with four wickets.

Only Rob Newton (31) and George Walker (12) reached double figures as Swardeston were bowled out for just 79.

Michael Eccles raised the visitors' hopes as he removed Ten Doeschate and Scott Facey early on, but the Norfolk paceman then received some harsh treatment at the hands of the prolific Indika de Saram, who hit an unbeaten 44 from 32 balls to guide Clacton home in just the 17th over.

That result was bad news for Fakenham, who are now 31 points adrift at the bottom after their defeat at second-placed Godmanchester.

Fakenham posted a competitive 222 for six from their 66 overs, with skipper Michael Smith making an unbeaten 98 and Ben Harvey hitting 40.

That score looked even better when Godmanchester slumped to 39 for four as Shaun Cooper claimed two wickets and Ian Slegg and Adam Woodhouse took one each.

But Craig Park stopped the rot with an unbeaten 96 and Godmanchester recovered to win by four wickets in the 50th over.

Mallards skipper Paul Bradshaw had ruled his side out of the title race, but he may be

re-thinking after Saturday's five-wicket win at home to Cambridge Granta.

Granta were bowled out for 248, with three wickets each for Martin Addison and Jonathan Spelman and two apiece for Bradshaw and Rob Frylinck.

After Carl Amos was dismissed for six in the Mallards' reply, Rob Purton and Trevor Ward added 139 for the second wicket. Purton followed up his century the week before with 55 and this time it was Ward's turn to reach three figures as he made 105.

There was a brief wobble as Peter Free and Frylink fell cheaply, but Scott Robinson (10no) and Richard Moores (43no) saw Mallards to victory in the 44th over.

Great Witchingham batted out for a draw at Manor Park after Horsford had set a challenging 264 for six.

Duminda Perera made 91 for Horsford and Jaik Mickleburgh, fresh from his heroics with Norfolk at the same venue earlier in the week, hit 66, while Carl Rogers picked up three wickets.

Spinner Chris Brown again posed the main threat for Horsford on his home pitch, taking three wickets, but the game fizzled out as Witchingham opted to settle for the draw, finishing on 136 for five.