Swardeston and Vauxhall Mallards gearing up for big showdown

Next weekend's clash between Vauxhall Mallards and Swardeston is shaping up as a crucial match – but tomorrow the title rivals will concentrate on extinguishing the hopes of two other Norfolk sides.

Swardeston's lead was cut to 28 points last Saturday despite their victory over Saffron Walden, as Mallards picked up maximum points against Halstead.

Tomorrow the leaders, who have won all but two of their home matches at The Common, host Horsford, who are still seeking their first away win.

Mark Thomas' side will be seeking revenge for the four-wicket defeat inflicted on them at Manor Park in May, when Horsford's Australian Reece O'Connell took four wickets and hit a half-century.

Horsford already trail the leaders by 68 points and another defeat tomorrow could spell the end of their title ambitions.

Mallards, meanwhile, travel to third-placed Great Witchingham, who are the other club most likely to be able to catch Swardeston.

Witches skipper and former Mallards player James Spelman returned to form with a century last week, while the hosts will be hoping for another sparkling display from Ryan McCone, who took five wickets when Witchingham won the reverse fixture by 70 runs.

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Norwich are the only Norfolk side not in derby action tomorrow, but their match at Clacton holds possibly even greater significance.

The Essex side are bottom of the table Norwich's closest rivals, currently holding a 23-point advantage which Norwich would dearly love to erode tomorrow.

Norfolk Alliance Premier Division leaders Fakenham suffered their first setback of the season last weekend when they lost to Diss, but skipper Ben Harvey remained positive: 'Unless you are having a phenomenal, record-breaking season, this day was inevitably going to come,' he said.

'Sometimes a defeat is not a bad thing, it makes you realise you are beatable, and after perhaps some comfortable victories it is time to get back to playing some really tough cricket.'

Tomorrow Fakenham host Lowestoft, who picked up a crucial win last weekend against fellow strugglers Cromer.

Sheringham's second successive relegation could be sealed tomorrow when they travel to Division Two leaders Dereham.

Norfolk League Division One frontrunners Rollesby travel to Ketteringham Hall, while Denver have the chance to regain top spot in West Norfolk League Division One when they host Terrington. Leaders Snettisham are without a game tomorrow.