Stephen Gray fires a century as Swardeston defeat Horsford


Swardeston were triumphant in a thrilling finish at Horsford as Norfolk captain George Walker held his nerve in a last over showdown against county coach Chris Brown.

The visitors needed 10 to win from the last over, and Walker dispatched Brown’s first delivery for four before seeing Swardeston home with a ball to spare, alongside unbeaten centurion Stephen Gray (114no).

Horsford chose to bat first but were struggling on 84 for four, despite steady contributions from Matthew Spenceley (30) and Jaik Mickleburgh (38).

Chris Sabburg (61) and Luke Caswell (38) then put on 78 for the fifth wicket before New Zealander Michael Parlane grabbed the crucial wicket of Australian Sabburg.

Horsford lost four wickets in quick succession at the death to finish on 214 for nine, with Michael Eccles picking up three for 51.

Both Swardeston openers were dismissed cheaply before Gray and Peter Lambert (44) added 90 for the third wicket.

After Lambert was dismissed, Brown claimed three wickets to leave Swardeston needing 50 from the last eight overs.

Walker (24no) joined Gray – who reached his 100 from 138 balls – and the pair saw Swardeston home, with Gray’s innings including 11 fours and two sixes.

The 2nd XI slipped to a losing draw at home to Dereham in Norfolk Alliance Division One.

Dereham posted 218-3 from their 50 overs, with Dale Reynolds taking all three wickets for 36 runs. In reply, Swardeston never really got going with wickets falling far too regularly and finished the innings on 178-8, Ben Shearing the main contributor with an unbeaten 76.

The 3rd XI also slipped to a losing draw against Great Melton in Division Two.

Great Melton scored 188-6 batting first, with two wickets apiece for David Horrex and Rory Olpin.

In reply, Swardeston started positively with Matt Hogg (41) and Simon Jessup (30) putting on 61 for the first wicket. However, after collapsing to 70-5 soon after, the target was always going to be an uphill struggle and the innings eventually closed with Swardeston on 141-7.

Kevin Cooper (112) shared in a second-wicket stand of 96 with Tom Snelling (41) as Swardeston-CEYMS picked up a winning draw at Aldborough in Division Five. Stuart Bartram (four for 20) was the visitors’ leading bowler.


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