Swardeston beat leaders Sudbury to boost EAPL title hopes

Swardeston skipper Joe Gatting made a superb unbeaten 160 on Saturday Picture: TIM FERLEY

Swardeston skipper Joe Gatting made a superb unbeaten 160 on Saturday Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

Joe Gatting played a spectacular captain's knock as Swardeston beat leaders Sudbury by 57 runs to keep their EAPL titles hopes very much alive.

The talented allrounder smashed a brilliant unbeaten 160 in just 127 balls to help his side reach 302-4 in their must-win match at Friars Street.

He then weighed in with a couple of wickets as Sudbury were dismissed for 245, a result that reduced the gap at the top to just 21 points with three matches left to play.

Sudbury will still be champions if they win their remaining fixtures but the pressure is now firmly on, with a tough trip to third placed Mildenhall coming up next.

After opting to bat first on Saturday the visitors lost both Jordan Taylor and Stephen Gray cheaply before Callum Taylor (74) and Gatting set the foundations for a big total with a third wicket partnership of exactly 100.

Peter Lambert then came and went quickly for 21 before his captain took centre stage with some superb strokeplay as an unbroken 141 was added for the fifth wicket, with Jason Reynolds scoring only 19 of them. Gatting ended up hitting nine fours and 11 sixes, with the leaders unable to do anything to stem the tide.

It looked like being an early finish when Sudbury slipped to 102-7 in reply but good knocks from James Poulson (68) and Kenny Moulton-Day (61) restored a little a pride before the hosts were dismissed in the 48th over.

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Jeremy Elliott, Joe Flatt and Peter Lambert all followed their skipper's example by taking a couple of wickets, Lambert for just one run as he wrapped up the innings.

Norwich slipped to the bottom of the table as their losing run continued while Bury St Edmunds were making it four straight wins.

Ashley Watson's side turned in an improved performance at Copdock but it wasn't enough to prevent a five wicket defeat. A fourth wicket stand of 81 between Watson (57) and Will O'Donnell (29) was the cornerstone of Norwich's 234-9.

It was a solid score but Copdock went on to win it in the 48th over, with Alex Oxley (71 not out) guiding them home.

Horsford made Bury battle all the way for their latest victory, with the Suffolk side scoring the winning runs off the penultimate ball of their innings with eight wickets down when chasing a modest 193-9.

Chad Bowes and Luke Findlay had earlier put on 61 for the first wicket for Horsford before Chris Read top scored with 45.

Norwich are now 12 points adrift at the bottom and need to win their final home game of the season against Burwell and Exning next weekend to retain a decent chance of staying up.

Vauxhall Mallards took the derby honours against Great Witchingham at Walcis Park to end any lingering fears of being dragged into a relegation scrap.

After being put into bat the home side could only get up to 199-9 in their 50 overs as the Mallards bowlers kept a tight rein on proceedings.

James Spelman (54) and Mike Jones (52) scored over half the runs in third wicket partnership of 103, with 14 the next highest score.

Nic Smit, Ben France and Adam Todd all took three wickets while Paul Bradshaw had no success but conceded just 18 runs in eight accurate overs.

Mallards produced a solid effort with the bat to secure the win in the 44th over, although with eight wickets down it was anything but plain sailing.

France (39), Smit (38) and Matthew Plater (35) all made useful contributions before Todd hit three fours in eight balls to see his side over the line.

William Means took 3-45 for Great Witchingham while James Spelman (2-36) and Brett Stolworthy (2-31) also made decent contributions.

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