Swardeston claim fourth straight win to move joint top of EAPL

Caisters lead at the top of the Norfolk Cricket League was cut to just two points as defending champ

Caisters lead at the top of the Norfolk Cricket League was cut to just two points as defending champions Saxlingham roared back in contention by belting 315-7 as Oli Browne crashed a massive 166. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Swardeston surged to the top of the East Anglian Premier League on Saturday after making it four wins on the trot.

With the quarter point of the season fast approaching Joe Gatting's in-form side are level with defending champions Sudbury following their six wicket home win over Burwell and Exning.

The runs flowed on a glorious day at The Common, with an amazing 73 boundaries being struck, and it was Swardeston who scored at a quicker rate to get home with plenty of overs in hand.

Gatting asked the visitors to bat first after winning the toss and they performed well to set what looked like a challenging total of 271-7, with Tyron Koen making an unbeaten 100 as Tom Oxley (4-58) and Joe Flatt (3-50) did their best to stem the flow.

After the early loss of Jordan Taylor Swardeston then took a firm grip on proceedings and Jason Reynolds (76), Stephen Gray (34), Gatting (67) and Peter Lambert (71 not out) all played important roles to see their side home. All scored at a brisk rate, particularly Lambert who only faced 40 balls and hit nine fours and three sixes.

Sudbury, who edged Swardeston into second place last season, got their campaign back on track after a heavy home defeat at the hands of Horsford when they won by 170 runs at Great Witchingham.

The Suffolk side posted a formidable total of 319 at Walcis Park, with Tom Huggins making 98 and Darren Batch 74 and Tom Collishaw taking 5-76 for the hosts.

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It soon became clear that the Witches' only hope of getting something out of the game was to shut up shop and to their credit they almost pulled it off. Murray Breetze's 35 was the top score but there was plenty of resistance, personified by Sam Groves' one not out in 38 balls. The hosts got close to saving the game but ended up being dismissed in the penultimate over for 149.

Vauxhall Mallards also faced an uphill struggle against Frinton at Halvergate but they managed to emerge with a draw. Former Norfolk player Jaik Mickleburgh turned on the style to make 101 for the Essex side as they reached 276-6 in 64 overs.

Mallards' reply started in encouraging fashion, with Matt Plater (44) and youngster Hudson de Lucchi (45) putting on 91 for the first wicket, but they found it tough to keep up with the required run rate and when the wickets started to full it was case of making sure defeat was avoided.

The hosts dug in well, with Harry Williams' nine off 63 balls summing up their determination, and when stumps were drawn the scoreboard read 165-7.

Norwich are still bottom of the EAPL - but they had something to smile about at last at the weekend.

Having suffered four straight defeats Ashley Watson's side gave as good as they got against an in-form Horsford outfit to come away with a draw and 13 much needed points.

The hosts took advantage of excellent batting conditions to get up to 276 before being dismissed in their final over. Chad Bowes led the way by blasting 91 in just 79 balls, with 12 fours and two sixes while Will Rogers (50) and Stephan Marillier (46) also enjoyed themselves in the Manor Park sunshine.

It didn't look good for Norwich when they slipped to 12-2 in reply, but Jack Newby (87) and Watson (111 not out) led the recovery, putting on 145 for the third wicket to make a real game of it. The result was in the balance again when the visitors went from 157-2 to 175-6 but Watson found a new ally in Jason Blake (38 not out) and they were on 251-6 when time ran out, just 26 runs short of their target. Chris Brown took 4-55 for Horsford.

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