Sudbury lose top-of-the-table clash to Swardeston
Joe Gatting breathed new life into the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League title race, with a knock of 160 not out for Swardeston (302-4) at Sudbury (245) on Saturday helping the visitors to a precious 57-run victory.
The hosting Talbots, the league’s reigning champions, had been sitting on a 40-point cushion ahead of their nearest challengers going into the match.
But, after the Norfolk contenders – who had won the title five years on the bounce before being denied by Sudbury last year in their maiden EAPL success – took the full 25 points from the 50-over match, compared to the hosts’ six, it saw them close the gap to 21 with three games to go.
It also saw Sudbury’s remarkable record of having never lost a limited overs (50) match, since it was introduced alongside the all-day format at the start of last season, come to an end.
Swardeston elected to bat and were in early trouble at 19-2 but Callum Taylor (74) started the recovery aided by a very quiet Gatting, whose first 23 runs all came in singles.
Once Taylor was out, Gatting then took control on his way to 160no, including nine fours and 11 sixes from facing 127 balls.
A total around 250 looked a reasonable target with six overs left and the score on 210, but Gatting powered 47 runs off the final two overs as the Talbots were reminded of his similar brutal effort in 2016 when they had their opponents on 22-7 before he scored 118, which helped Swardeston to victory by four runs.
In reply, most of Sudbury’s top order got started but nobody could push on. And, when the rain forced a 30-minute interlude, the side were 146-7 and in danger of not securing any batting bonus points.
Kenny Moulton-Day (61) and James Poulson (68) had other ideas once play resumed and went on the attack.
If they could have stayed at the crease, the target of 303 could have been achieved.
Once Moulton-Day was out at 212-8 with nine overs left, Poulson continued to score quickly. But the 104-run partnership had been broken and Swardeston cleaned up the tail.
Reflecting on the game, club captain Darren Batch said: “We were on the end of a pretty special knock from Joe Gatting which took the game way from us.
“They were looking on for scoring 260 but he chucked them up to 300, and a lot of credit has to go his way.”
He said from their top three batsmen one would have had to have kicked on, but neither Tom Huggins, Adam Mansfield or himself got up to 30.