Norwich slump to home defeat

Phil BanyardGibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League: Rain interrupted the majority of matches on Saturday, but it could not save Norwich from a heavy defeat against Cambridge Granta at Ingham.Phil Banyard

Rain interrupted the majority of matches on Saturday, but it could not save Norwich from a heavy defeat against Cambridge Granta at Ingham.

Granta elected to bat first but were initially pegged back by the Norwich attack. Opener Richard Hesketh then began to dominate, however, and he smashed 142, supported by Douglas Rice (30), Craig Park (50) and Matthew Friedlander (30no) as the visitors reached a daunting 302 for five from their rain reduced allocation of 61 overs. Aaron Watson was Norwich's leading bowler with two for 48, while Sam Noster's two victims came at a cost of almost nine an over.

Norwich's initial response was counter-attack, but once Olly Higenbottam (48) and skipper Chris Borrett (42) had departed, they turned their attention to securing a draw. Ashley Watson, playing his first game of the season after returning from duty with the RAF, did his utmost to save the hosts, but after he departed for 33 the tail crumbled. Norwich were all out for 171 with just four balls remaining as Jason Coleman (four for 23) and Craig Park (three for 18) bowled Granta to a 131-run victory.

Swardeston slipped to third and lost ground on leaders Saffron Walden when they could only hang on for a draw against bottom side Fakenham.

Gayan Wijekoon (74) and Sanjaya Rodrigo (53) added 121 for the third wicket as Fakenham reached 239 for seven from their 66 overs. Chris Gardiner led the Swardeston wicket takers with four for 78.

In reply the hosts quickly fell to 12 for three as they lost three wickets in just seven balls. Jaden Hatwell rebuilt the innings, adding 51 for the third wicket with Peter Lambert (18) and 89 for the fourth wicket with George Walker. Hatwell was eventually out for 85, including 10 sixes and three fours. With Swardeston's chances hampered by losing two overs to a brief shower and Walker out for 55, the last pair of Michel Eccles and Gardiner had to bat out the last five overs to save the draw with the hosts 29 runs short of victory. Imran Ali and Wijekoon both finished with four wickets for Fakenham as they bagged their fourth successive draw.

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Jonathan Atkinson and Chris Sabburg featured in a magnificent third wicket partnership of 184 for Horsford at Great Witchingham, but rain ruined what might have been an interesting finish.

Atkinson made 106 from 178 balls, including 12 fours and a six, while Australian Sabburg's 91came from 124 balls and featured nine fours and a six. Horsford went on to post 279 for seven from their 66 overs, with Witches skipper James Spelman claiming three wickets.

Spelman and Carl Rogers then put on 46 in 11 overs for the hosts, before the weather brought a premature end.

Rain also prevented a satisfactory finish at Halstead, where champions Vauxhall Mallards at least had the consolation of a decent haul of batting points.

Mallards were put into bat and once again were given a solid platform by Carl Amos (65), who hit his fourth successive league half-century. Peter Free (61no) and Richard Goodenough (50) also shone with the bat as Mallards made 255 for five from their 51 overs.

Paul Bradshaw took an early wicket for Mallards, but a second wicket stand of 90 saw Halstead to 104 for one when play was called to a halt.

Saffron Walden extended their lead to 21 points as Darren Cousins took five wickets in a six-wicket win at home to Burwell, while there was no play between Bury St Edmunds and Clacton.