Norwich let it slip away
Norwich wasted the chance of victory against reigning champions Bury on Saturday after a dramatic batting collapse.
Gibbs Denley EAPL: Norwich wasted the chance of victory against reigning champions Bury on Saturday after a dramatic batting collapse.
Chasing Bury's 153, home side Norwich were well-placed on 124 for five, but then lost their last five wickets for just 10 runs.
Norwich won the toss and put Bury in to bat, but an opening stand of 50 provided a solid base for the visitors.
Ashley Watson made the breakthrough and Norwich gradually began to tighten the screws as Bury stumbled to 90 for four.
After an unsuccessful opening spell, Surappulige Malinga returned to claim the key wicket of former Essex star Paul Grayson.
The lower order failed to contribute much and Watson picked up three more wickets as Bury were bowled out in the 59th over.
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Felix Flower fell early in the Norwich reply and Ben Patston went with the score on 36. Skipper Chris Borrett then played the lead role as Norwich reached 95 for three. But Borrett was bowled for 39 and the nerves began to creep in, as Oliver Higenbottam departed soon afterwards. Watson attempted to repeat his bowling heroics with the bat and he had added 17 before becoming the sixth wicket to fall, on 124. From there, Norwich wilted at the hands of Andrew Tweedie, who claimed the remaining four wickets in quick time.
Swardeston are now 10 points clear of Bury after an incredible victory at home to Clacton, in a match where only 178 runs were scored and 19 wickets fell.
Clacton elected to bat first but they were soon in trouble against Mark Thomas and Michael Eccles, who reduced the visitors to 31 for four.
George Walker and Jaden Hatwell then took over, with Walker claiming two wickets and Hatwell three as Clacton crumbled to 63 for nine. A last wicket stand put on 25 before Eccles ended it, but the total of 88 seemed unlikely to trouble Swardeston's powerful batting line-up.
That feeling was strengthened when Loyala Herathge and Will Rist put on 30 for the first wicket, but that quickly changed to 48 for seven as wickets tumbled - including the prize scalp of in-form Hatwell for a duck.
Suddenly Swardeston were staring at their second successive defeat and when skipper Thomas was adjudged lbw with the score on 63, their small target seemed a long way off. But former Zimbabwe Test player Brian Murphy, who has endured a miserable run with the bat since returning to Swardeston this season, showed all his experience to keep his side in the hunt. After Matt Hogg was dismissed with 16 still needed, last man Eccles joined Murphy (20no) and the pair edged Swardeston to victory.
A stunning century from Vauxhall Mallards' South African, Rob Frylinck, could not prevent his side tumbling to defeat in a high scoring encounter at Cambridge Granta.
Mallards batted first and their innings was built around a fourth wicket stand of 95 between Carl Amos (59) and Frylinck.
The South African went on to blast 141 from 113 balls, hitting nine sixes and nine fours as Mallards closed on 295 for eight.
Frylinck then made an early breakthrough with the ball and when dangerman Jacques Du Toit was dismissed with the last ball before tea to make it 75 for three, Mallards fancied their chances of victory.
But they reckoned without Sean Park, who emulated Frylinck's efforts to smash an unbeaten 121 from just 89 balls.
He still needed help from the lower order and an eighth wicket stand of 43 frustrated Mallards and guided Granta home with four balls to spare.
There was some consolation for Mallards in the return to bowling action of skipper Paul Bradshaw, who managed 16 overs.
Horsford settled for a draw at Great Witchingham after at one stage looking on course for their second successive win.
Witchingham were restricted to 162 after opting to bat first, James Spelman top scoring with 36. Chris Brown took four wickets for Horsford, while Duminda Perera claimed three.
Lance Shaw struck twice early in the Horsford reply to remove Michael Warnes and Jaik Mickleburgh, but Nathan Perry-Warnes and Perera took the score up to 67. Spelman dismissed both men, although with Brown and Paul Newman at the crease, Horsford looked capable of launching an assault on their target.
But after Newman's dismissal, on 126, the visitors were happy to bat out for a draw.
Fakenham are now nine points adrift at the bottom after picking up just one point in their seven-wicket defeat at home to Godmanchester.
The familiar problem of a lack of top order runs returned to haunt the home side, as only skipper Michael Smith (43) from the top seven batsmen reached double figures.
A rally from the tail saw them up to 146 all out, but that total did not trouble Godmanchester, as they surpassed it in the 38th over.