Swardeston seal EAPL success after a happy half-hour
Swardeston have captured their third East Anglian Premier League crown – taking just 28 minutes to put the destiny of the title beyond doubt in their final day shoot-out with Vauxhall Mallards at the Common.
Knowing they had to win the toss, bat first without losing more than one wicket and bowl Swardeston out for a lesser score below 150, Mallards managed to achieve the first stage of mission improbable when the coin came down in skipper Paul Bradshaw's favour.
Had Swardeston won the toss, they would have effectively won the title before a ball had been bowled by making it impossible for Mallards to obtain the points needed to pip their long-standing rivals at the post.
However within half an hour the Brundall outfit's dream was in tatters as Norfolk opening bowler Michael Eccles had them reeling at 9-2, including the key second wicket of David Turner.
Three wickets from Mark Thomas saw Mallards slump to 33-5 and facing humiliation at the hands of their archrivals before Olly Stone (20) and Richard Goodenough (23) sparked a revival.
Spinner George Walker wiped away the lower order on his way to 4 for 23 as Mallards reached a modest 109 total in the 34th over, courtesy of Tom Brice's combative unbeaten 39.
On paper, it was a total that did not look to present too big a challenge to the hosts.
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But Mallards dug deep to deny 2007 and 2008 title winners Swardeston the chance to put the icing on the cake, skittling them out for 79 in the 28th over.
Oliver Stone, Bradshaw and Martin Addison shared nine wickets in the 30-run win which secured runners-up position.
Bradshaw, who had earlier been dismissed for a golden duck, took his tally to 55 to top the league wicket-takers list.
Australian Chris Sabburg's sparkling unbeaten century, his first in the EAPL this season, helped third-placed Horsford to end their campaign with a two-wicket win over Norfolk rivals Great Witchingham. Sabburg posted 128 not out in a blistering 87-ball knock which included 13 fours and eight sixes as the visitors overhauled the Witches' 195 total in the 39th over. James Spelman's 4 for 70 was the pick of the hosts' bowling efforts.
In-form Sam Arthurton's boundary-laden 78, including eight fours and six sixes was the cornerstone of the Walcis Park outfit's 195-9 total, which saw James Wild bag four for 35.
Reigning champions Cambridge Granta's dismal season ended on a low note with a 214-run defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Burwell at Mingay Park.
Kieran Toner hit a century in Burwell's 292-8 total and then shared eight wickets with Marlon Richards as Granta – who last season won the league title by 46 points – were dismissed for 78 in the 25th over.
Bury St Edmunds' Sufolk opener Tom Huggins ended his season on a high with a century of boundaries in the draw with Saffron Walden. Huggins hit 24 fours and a six in his 195-ball 167 – the best individual total this season – as Bury posted a mammoth 349-5 declared after being invited to bat at the Victory Ground. Walden replied with 190-6.
Ben France's 98 and a four-wicket haul for Stefanus Gericke helped fourth-placed Clacton to a 47-run win over league newcomers Copdock and Old Ipswichians.
Halstead, who suffered a 10-wicket defeat against Sudbury, are relegated back to the Two Counties Championship. Norwich will travel to play Two Counties champions Woolpit next Saturday in the EAPL play-off. The game, which will be played under Minor Counties rules, will start at 10.30.
• EAPL SCOREBOARD
• Vauxhall Mallards (30) beat Swardeston (5) by 30 runs at The Common
Vauxhall Mallards: C Amos b Eccles 8, D Turner b Eccles 1, C Schoeman b Thomas 8, M Platter b Thomas 9, A Shearer lbw Thomas 0, O Stone c J Taylor b Walker 20, R Goodenough c-b Parlane 23, P Bradshaw b Walker 0, T Brice not out 39, S Lipshaw c Elliott b Walker 0, M Addison c Tufts b Walker 0; extras 1. Total (33.3 ovs) 109. Bowling: M Eccles 12-4-37-2, M Thomas 9-4-20-3, G Walker 7.3-1-23-4, C Taylor 2-0-18-0, M Parlane 3-0-11-1.
Swardeston: J Taylor b Oliver Stone 9, M Parlane c Stone b Bradshaw 0, S Gray c Goodenough b Bradshaw 16, P Lambert c Goodenough b Stone 0, L Denmark c Stone b Bradshaw 11, C Taylor c Stone b Addison 4, I Tufts c Goodenough b Stone 6, J Elliott c Lipshaw b Addison 7, G Walker lbw Addison 17, M Thomas c Amos b Brice 2, M Eccles not out 2; extras 5. Total (27.1 ovs) 79. Bowling: O Stone 9-2-33-3, P Bradshaw 8-2-13-3, M Addison 5.1-1-22-3, T Brice 5-1-7-1.
• Horsford (25) beat Great Witchingham (6) by 2 wickets at Walcis Park
Great Witchingham: JM Spelman c Wild b Perry-Warnes 1, C Rogers run out 32, S Arthurton jnr c Sabburg b Wild 78, J Hale c Perry-Warnes b Caswell 18, W Lonsdale run out (MR Warnes) 0, T Allan lbw Caswell 0, S Arthurton snr hit wicket b Wild 37, JO Spelman st Smith b Wild 9, T Collishaw not out 12, M Hale c Caswell b Wild 0, S Groves not out 5; extras 3. Total (9 wkts, 66 ovs) 195. Bowling: Luke Caswell 18-9-34-2, N Perry-Warnes 11-0-46-1, C Brown 18-2-68-0, C Sabburg 4-0-12-0, J Wild 15-5-35-4.
Horsford: MR Warnes b JM Spelman 23, M Spenceley c Groves b Lonsdale 13, L Caswell b Lonsdale 0, C Sabburg not out 126, J Wild lbw JM Spelman 1, N Perry-Warnes lbw JM Spelman 0, W Bryan c S Arthurton jnr b JM Spelman 0, C Brown c Groves b JO Spelman 14, D Smith c S Arthurton snr b JO Spelman 9, A Dismore not out 2; extras 11. Total (8 wkts, 38.4 ovs) 199. Bowling: W Lonsdale 12-1-80-2, JM Spelman 16-4-70-4, JO Spelman 10-1-39-2, J Hale 0.4-0-8-0.
• Burwell 292-8 (66 ovs, K Toner 101, M Richards 57no, 30pts) beat Cambridge Granta 78 (24.1 ovs, K Toner 4-14, M Richards 4-47, 4 points) by 214 runs at Mingay Park.
• Bury St Edmunds 349-5d (64.2 ovs, T Huggins 167, S Ward 65, 16pts) drew with Saffron Walden 190-6 (55 ovs, 7pts) at Victory Ground.
• Clacton 245-9d (61.1 ovs, B France 98, 30 pts) beat Copdock & Old Ipswichian 198 (55.4 ovs, M Cull 74, S Gericke 4-30, 6pts) by 47 runs at Vista Road.
• Sudbury 99-0 (17.2 ovs, D Batch 53no, 25pts) beat Halstead 98 (37.4 ovs, D Hyett 4-20, 0pts) by 10 wickets at Quay Lane.
• With Woolpit crowned Champions of the Two Counties, they will host Norwich in the play off game next Saturday 22nd September. Played under Minor Counties one day rules the game will commence at 10.30am. There will be reserve day on the 23rd should weather take a hand.