Todd keeps up good work as Mallards claim unlikely win
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Adam Todd took his fine form for Norfolk into the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League as Vauxhall Mallards comfortably saw off Saffron Walden after being skittled out for just 129.
Mallards needed something special from their opening bowlers after being dismissed cheaply at Halvergate and that's exactly what they got, with youngster Todd teaming up with the experienced Paul Bradshaw to reduce the visitors to 4-4. There was no recovering from that, with Walden sliding to 32-8 before the final two wickets added an extremely thin veneer of respectability by taking the all out total up to 72. Todd, who took 5-58 for his county in the drawn game against Staffordshire last week, led the way with figures of 6-30 from 10 overs while Bradshaw weighed in with 3-7 from seven.
Earlier Mitchell Todd had saved Mallards from similar humiliation with a crucial knock of 59, while Harry Barker later contributed 33 to help boost his side's meagre total.
There was plenty at stake for both teams in the derby encounter between Swardeston and Norwich, with the hosts looking for points to boost their hopes of winning the league and the opposition needing a result to improve their chances of staying in it.
It was Swardeston who emerged victorious, although the visitors gave them a real test on a day when quick runs were hard to come by, but only seven wickets fell in the two innings.
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After being put into bat Norwich were kept in check by some accurate bowling as they reached 233-4 in their 64 overs, with Sanjay Mishra, Ashley Watson, Ben Hutchinson and Andrew McGeorge all making contributions in the 40s. Swardeston only lost three batsmen in passing their target, although they didn't get home until the penultimate ball of the 62nd over. Jordan Taylor carried his bat to guide his side home with an unbeaten 88 while Richard Sims (54 not out) and Stephen Gray (44) were the other key contributors.
With morning leaders Cambridge Granta losing at Frinton Swardeston moved 12 points clear at the top - while Norwich are now just one point above bottom side Bury St Edmunds, who recorded an excellent six wicket win over Copdock and Ipswichian.
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Horsford are just two points off the foot of the table following a disappointing 52-run defeat at Burwell. The visitors looked in with a decent chance of claiming a win after bowling their hosts out for 210, with Ryan Findlay taking 5-35 and Ben France 3-47. But the batsmen failed to produce the goods, with only Nathan Perry-Warnes (34), Stephan Marillier (41) and Chris Brown (30 not out) making an impact as Horsford slid from 123-5 to 133-9 before being dismissed for 158.
James Spelman made a century as Great Witchingham and Woolpit fought out an exciting draw. The Norfolk opener accumulated 108 from 179 balls as the hosts made 236-6 from their 64 overs. Woolpit also had a centurion in the shape of Andrew Northgate (126) but the overs ran out before they could overhaul their target and they finished five short with six wickets down.
Paceman Michael Eccles ripped through Brooke's top order as Swardeston powered their way into the Carter Cup final.
While the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division hosts won the initial encounter – which was ordered to be replayed after disagreements about the eligibility of one of their players – Swardeston, going well before the rain struck during the second attempt, just had far too much for their lower-level opponents.
They will now play Norwich, who were comfortable winners against Vauxhall Mallards in yesterday's second rearranged match, in the final at Manor Park this Sunday.
Brooke's hopes were dealt a blow early on when Lewis Denmark ran out Rob Porter for just three. And it didn't get any better when Eccles' excellent showing with the ball swung into action by removing Richard Porter for 14.
The next three wickets fell to the same bowler as the East Anglian Premier League champions for the last three years running had their opponents floundering at 27-5.
Mark Taylor then took two wickets of his own to increase the visitors' stranglehold on proceedings.
Ed Sturman and Rob Setchell offered a resistance of sorts as Brooke tried to make a game of it. Yet when the former went for 12, the away team's hopes of victory continued to look even stronger. Setchell carried his bat for 17 after digging in for 53 balls but ultimately a team total of 91 all out, which included 25 extras, was never going to be too hard to chase down.
Peter Lambert and Freddie Ruffell knew that they could take what was left of the game away from Brooke by opening the batting confidently. And that's exactly what they did at House Park to ensure the run chase remained as routine as it should have been.
Lambert scored 40 of the required total off 30 balls and walked away unbeaten thanks to a 52-minute knock which helped his men progress to this Sunday's showcase. Ruffell almost joined him in heading back to the pavilion without having been dismissed. Yet he went for the same total, off 11 more balls, when Will Minchin claimed Brooke's solitary wicket.
It was left to Stephen Gray to add eight runs as Swardeston completed their triumph – which owed a massive amount to the bowling powers of Eccles (4-17) and Taylor (3-36).
The victors' George Walker said on Twitter: 'Pleasure captaining the @SwardestonCC boys in Carter Cup win today v Brooke. Big three games completed this weekend #topeffort #hawaythelads.'
In the other semi-final, Norwich recorded an impressive 73-run victory over Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League rivals Vauxhall Mallards.
Norwich were all out for 230 and then bowled their opponents out for just 157.
Oly Higenbotham (48) and Sam Pointer (35) were the star men for Norwich with the bat while Matt Seager took three wickets for Mallards. Paul Bradshaw, Mitchell Todd and Devon Conway weighed in with two apiece.
Conway made 46 in Mallards' reply, with Todd contributing 26, while Jamie Mirner and Pointer took two wickets each for the victors.