Swardeston sealed a fifth successive East Anglian Premier League title as Freddie Ruffell picked the perfect day to score his first century in the competition.
The youngster’s spectacular ton was the highlight as the leaders piled up 321-6 against Horsford at Manor Park before dismissing their relegation-threatened hosts for 197.
The resounding triumph saw Swardeston move an unassailable 95 points clear at the top, with just pride to play for in their final two matches. It’s a very different scenario for Horsford, however, who face a desperate battle to preserve their elite status after losing on a day when bottom side Woolpit claimed a crucial win.
A typically solid batting effort from Swardeston saw Stephen Gray and Joe Gatting lay the groundwork for a big score by making half centuries before young Ruffell took centre stage in the company of Lewis Denmark.
The pair put on 151 for the fifth wicket, with Ruffell making 102 in just 69 balls, helped by 10 fours and five sixes, and Denmark contributing 56 from exactly the same number of deliveries.
Horsford knew they would have to excel with the bat to get anywhere near that total and to be fair they started well, getting up to 143 for the loss of just one wicket as Stephan Marillier (55), John Ratledge (45) and Matt Spenceley (37) all impressed.
But from a position of some promise they collapsed to 197 all out, with Matt Taylor taking 4-47 and Gatting 3-53.
Horsford’s day took a further turn for the worse when news of Woolpit’s seven-wicket win filtered through.
The double whammy left them six points adrift at the foot of the table, with Woolpit the side immediately above them and Great Witchingham a further four points better off.
The good news for Horsford is that their rivals meet next Saturday, meaning a win at Sudbury would take them out of the relegation position with one match left to play, intriguingly at home to Woolpit on September 10.
The Witches were right out of luck at the weekend as what looked like being a successful run chase against Sudbury was scuppered by the weather.
The Suffolk side appeared well placed after making 308-6 (Darren Batch 107) but their hosts responded in splendid fashion, with James Spelman (94) and Sam Arthurton (41) putting on 135 for the first wicket and Jonathan Spelman (60) and Brenton McDonald (64) adding an unbeaten 119 for the fourth before Witchingham were left stranded on 269-3 in the 51st over as the umpires called the teams off for bad light.
With Cambridge Granta losing to Bury St Edmunds, Vauxhall Mallards had a chance to move up to second, but they couldn’t take it, losing by six wickets to Copdock & Old Ipswichian.
Devon Conway (70) and Brett Stolworthy (57 not out) helped Mallards up to a respectable 230-8, but it wasn’t enough as Dewald Botha (123 not out) led the home side to a comfortable win.
Norwich could make only 188 against Frinton at Ingham, with wicket-keeper Jason Blake top scoring with 60, but then dismissed their visitors for just 161 as Dominic Mirner weighed in with figures of 5-35.