Swardeston’s season up and running after derby win at Norwich
- Credit: Archant
New skipper Joe Gatting saw Swardeston home to their first win of the season on Saturday - but there were more than a few scares along the way.
Last season's runners-up looked set for a comfortable afternoon at Ingham when they dismissed hosts Norwich for just 136, with Tom Oxley taking four wickets and evergreen former captain Mark Thomas three.
But it was far from plain sailing for Swardeston and in the end they were grateful for an unbeaten 35 from Gatting as they edged home by just two wickets.
After being asked to bat first Norwich struggled against a strong visiting attack, with opener Lewis Sexton top scoring with 29 and Connor Green's knock of 24 not out in 72 balls emphasising just how tough it was for batsmen.
That was also the case when Swardeston's reply got under way. But openers Jordan Taylor (41) and Jason Reynolds (20) batted well to take them past 50 and although wickets then began to tumble Gatting organised the tail to see his side home, with No 10 Oxley hitting the winning boundary in the 33rd over.
It was a timely tonic for Gatting's men after an opening day defeat at Mildenhall and last weekend's washout had left them 18 points behind co-leaders Frinton, Sudbury and Mildenhall in the early standings.
Vauxhall Mallards and Horsford are locked together on the bottom with just 12 points to their name after suffering their second defeats of the campaign.
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Both made below par totals in tough away games before seeing the opposition cruise home with plenty of overs to spare.
Mallards got up to 217-8 in their 50 overs at Bury St Edmunds, thanks almost entirely to an excellent fourth wicket partnership of 152 between new South African recruit Nicholas Smit and rising star Oli Stone, who had been given permission to play by his county Warwickshire.
Stone, 24, is rapidly making his name as one of England's top young fast bowlers, but he shone with the bat at the weekend, making an excellent 69 while his partner finished on 80.
But their efforts proved to be in vain, with Bury knocking off the runs for the loss of only four wickets with 14 overs to spare, with Murray Cousins (69) and Luke du Plooy (65) leading the way and Paul Bradshaw taking 4-35.
It was even more one-sided at Frinton, who bowled out Horsford for just 124, with Chris Read (39 not), skipper Luke Finlay (32) and Callum Melcalf (30) scoring the bulk of the runs. Frinton also went on to record a six wicket triumph but completed the job in just 20 overs.