Swardeston feel the heat
Phil BanyardGibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League: Batsmen prospered in the blazing sun on Saturday - but Swardeston's bowlers felt the heat as they were unable to defend a big total against Clacton at the Common.Phil Banyard
Batsmen prospered in the blazing sun on Saturday - but Swardeston's bowlers felt the heat as they were unable to defend a big total against Clacton at The Common.
The hosts batted first and Daniel Martin gave them a flying start with a quickfire 43, before Jaden Hatwell maintained the momentum with 95 from 119 balls. The New Zealander added 102 for the sixth wicket with George Walker (41) and skipper Mark Thomas then contributed an unbeaten 37 before declaring on 301 for eight from 58 overs.
Ben France gave the visitors a blistering start, smashing 101 from 77 balls and at 166 for one they seemed to be coasting to victory.
The departure of France saw a steady deterioration and at 242 for six the game had swung back in Swardeston's favour. However, Clacton skipper Martyn Cull and Lerutia Masekela added 57 for the seventh wicket to take the Essex side to the brink of victory. Two wickets fell with the visitors just three runs short of their target, but Imran Sheikh hit the winning boundary with an over to spare.
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That result allowed Great Witchingham to move 20 points clear at the top after Carl Rogers and James Spelman produced a club record opening stand in their
10-wicket win at home to Halstead.
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Witchingham's spinners had restricted Halstead to 208 all out, with three wickets each for Spelman and Sam Arthurton and Rogers chipping in with two victims, while Amit Gupta posted a century for Halstead.
Spelman and Rogers continued their outstanding early season form by both reaching three figures as Witchingham cruised to victory in just the 34th over.
Skipper Spelman's 104no came from 97 balls and included 21 fours, while Rogers' 100no - his second league century of the season - took 96 balls and featured 20 fours.
Norwich moved above Halstead at the bottom after an improved display in their four-wicket defeat against Bury at Postwick.
Seventeen-year-old Ben Wright, released by Framlingham College to play for Norwich, made the occasion count with a maiden century, hitting 104 from 133 balls. He was supported by opener Olly Higenbottam (77) as Norwich posted a total of 274 all out.
Bury replied strongly, with Freddie Klokker (75) in good form and the outcome was never really in doubt. Norwich's hopes were raised when Harry Bush returned for a second spell and took three wickets, leaving Bury with six wickets down and needing 72 to win, but Peter Turnbull (27no) and Simon Rees (45no) were unruffled as the visitors won in the 55th over.
Horsford's bowlers were put to the sword by Derbyshire batsman Garry Park as Cambridge Granta piled on the runs at Manor Park.
There was little indication of what was to come as Horsford claimed three early wickets - one of them a run out involving Park and his brother, Sean.
But that brought a third Park brother, Craig, to the crease and along with Garry he helped Granta rack up 307 for three before they declared after 64 overs. Garry finished unbeaten on 208 from 202 balls, having blitzed 11 sixes and 16 fours, while Craig contributed a more sedate 72no.
Horsford also found batting straightforward, as Chris Sabburg (90) and former Granta player Jonny Atkinson (64) built a strong reply, but were just unable to keep up with the required rate. The hosts eventually finished 32 runs short of victory, on a highly respectable 276 for four from their 56 overs.
Champions Vauxhall Mallards remain off the pace after settling for a draw at Saffron Walden.
Skipper Paul Bradshaw collected four for 40 and spinner Rob Purton took three wickets at a cost of 75 runs as Walden posted 254 for nine, Giles Ecclestone hitting 96 and Neil Gladwin making 70.
Mallards lost early wickets in their reply and although Carl Amos (89) notched his first league half-century of the campaign, the visitors finished well short on 187 for six.
Fakenham's batting crumbled as they slumped to a 111-run defeat at home to Burwell.
Henry James' 112 was the core of the Burwell batting effort, with Gayan Wijekoon and Sanjaya Rodrigo taking three wickets each.
After a solid start, wickets tumbled for Fakenham and although Phil Gray made an unbeaten 62, they were all out for 141, Frans Johannes Bester claiming seven for 49.