Stone shines with bat once again as Vauxhall Mallards race to victory

Mike Jones on the attack for Great Witchingham - but it was in a losing cause. Picture: TIM FERLEY

Mike Jones on the attack for Great Witchingham - but it was in a losing cause. Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

Olly Stone produced another eye-catching performance with the bat to help Vauxhall Mallards see off Bury St Edmunds at Halvergate.

Having caught the eye at national level for his right arm fast bowling, the Warwickshire man is currently playing for his club as a batsman only - and is showing he has got what it takes to become a genuine all-rounder.

Stone smashed an unbeaten 93 in just 61 balls on Saturday as Mallards continued their ascent into mid-table with a five wicket victory over the league's bottom side.

Chasing a modest 146, the hosts slipped to 26-4 in reply but with Stone quickly finding his rhythm and Troy Allan (28) providing solid support the job was completed in just 21 overs, with 16 fours and two sixes from the star man helping his side along the way.

Stone has now scored 416 runs in seven matches this season at an impressive average of 104, with his heroics helping Mallards pull well clear of the bottom, having looked like relegation candidates not so long ago.

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Swardeston's hopes of winning the title suffered another blow as they were held to a draw by visitors Norwich while leaders Sudbury were comfortably seeing off Burwell and Exning.

Skipper Joe Gatting led from the front as his side got all the way up to 358 at The Common, with the ball rocketing to the boundary at regular intervals over the rock hard outfield.

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Gatting made a brilliant 150 in 127 balls, with 15 fours and four sixes, while Lewis Denmark (62) and Matt Taylor (43) provided useful support.

The challenge then was to take 10 Norwich wickets and with seamers of the calibre of Tom Oxley, Michael Eccles and Mark Thomas not in the line-up it proved beyond them as the visitors finished on 242-7.

Nipuna Serarante led the way with 60 while Will O'Donnell - now back playing for the club after returning from his native New Zealand - completed a solid game by adding a patient 33 to his earlier figures of 3-75.

Great Witchingham lost to Copdock for the second time this season, going down by 35 runs at Walcis Park.

Sam Arthurton won the toss and asked Copdock to bat first and Andy Hanby struck early, removing opener Fergus Atkins and claiming the key wicket of former Kent player Adam Ball to leave Copdock on 40-2. Jack Beaumont (68) and opener Alec Oxley (82) set about repairing the damage and put on 137 for the third wicket before Will Means struck with two wickets in two balls to remove both players.

Wickets then started to tumble on a regular basis, with Mike Jones and Brett Stolworthy getting two wickets apiece as Copdock were bowled out for 235.

The Witches' reply never really gained any momentum. Spelman was first out with the score on 24 when he was caught and bowled by South African Glenton Stuurman and Arthurton soon followed, again a victim of Stuurman. When James Page and Collishaw departed Witchingham were in trouble at 52-4. Despite good knocks of 67 from Mike Jones and 46 from Stolworthy Witchingham never really looked like reaching their target and were all out for 200, Stuurman ending with figures of 5–41.

Horsford were forced to settle for a draw after an entertaining game against Frinton at Manor Park.

The hosts had to shut up shop after losing eight wickets while chasing a tough target of 268-8 and saw out the game to finish on 240-8.

Former Horsford player Jaik Mickleburgh led the way for Frinton with 75 as the home bowlers toiled on another hot day, with county captain Chris Brown posting the best figures of 3-55 and Thomas Nudd taking 2-68.

With openers Chad Bowes and Luke Findlay both failing to reach double figures as the hosts slipped to 21-2 it looked a real uphill struggle but Horsford stayed in the hunt thanks to useful knocks from Stephan Marillier (49) and Callum Metcalf (38).

The wickets continued to fall however and with the hosts 60 runs short with just two wickets in hand a draw became the main target, with Ryan Findlay (50 not out) and Tim Alexander (9 not out) ensuring it was mission accomplished, although Horsford had to be content with 10 points to Frinton's 17.

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