Swardeston go marching on as below-par Witches have a day to forget

Horsford batsman Jonanthan Crowe goes for a duck after being caught behind by Vauxhall Mallards wick

Horsford batsman Jonanthan Crowe goes for a duck after being caught behind by Vauxhall Mallards wicket-keeper Harry Barker. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant

Swardeston reeled off a fifth straight win in the East Anglian Premier League on Saturday as rivals Great Witchingham saw their perfect start to the campaign come to an abrupt halt.

The defending champions didn't have things all their own way against visitors Cambridge Granta but, as is so often the case, they did what they had to do with both bat and ball to keep flying high at the top.

It was a different story for the Witches, however, with Sam Arthurton's side having a real off day at fellow high-flyers Sudbury to end up on the wrong end of a 10-wicket drubbing.

After being asked to bat first at The Common, Swardeston produced a typically solid effort to get up to 243-8 in their 50 overs,

Opener Jason Reynolds celebrated his Norfolk call-up with a top score of 68 while a series of good contributions down the order, including an unbeaten 27 in 19 balls from skipper Mark Thomas, ensured the hosts had a decent total to defend.

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A fine partnership of 94 for the sixth wicket between Jonathan Atkinson and Lewis Hill helped Granta make a game of it but it was all over bar the shouting when they lost four wickets with the score on 158. Granta were eventually all out for 176 with Joe Gatting and Tom Oxley both taking three wickets.

Witchingham were put in on a difficult wicket at Sudbury and the first-wicket partnership of 34 between Arthurton and James Spelman proved to be the biggest of a really disappointing effort.

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Too many players gave their wickets away with poor shots as the visitors were all out for just 121 in the 48th over.

It was a different story after lunch as Tom Mansfield and Tom Huggins came out full of intent to knock off the runs before the rain came. They set about the Witchingham attack with some fine stroke play, particularly from former Suffolk skipper Huggins who ended up with 73 not out from 83 balls, including 11 fours and three sixes.

Dark clouds had been gathering for some time and when Huggins hit the winning runs in the 23rd over the rain started to fall heavily and the players had to run from the field.

Witchingham will certainly need to buck their ideas up for their next game, with Swardeston visiting Walcis Park on Saturday.

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