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Tom turns the tide

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 03 July 2010

ACLE'S return to form continued on Saturday as they completed a hard-earned win over Swardeston to consolidate their third- place position in the Alliance Premier Division.

ACLE'S return to form continued on Saturday as they completed a hard-earned win over Swardeston to consolidate their third- place position in the Alliance Premier Division.

Returning skipper Paul Munford lost the toss and Swardeston opted to bat first on a baking hot day.

With both their regular opening bowlers missing, veteran Neil Grady was called out of retirement and didn't disappoint, combining with James Foreman to reduce the visitors to 24-2.

Acle's good work looked in danger of going unrewarded as Zimbabwean danger man Brian Murphy took the score to 78-2.

Murphy's dismissal by Tom Nudd proved a turning point, however, as Swardeston subsequently collapsed to 90-6 in the face of some excellent and controlled bowling from Nudd and Hayden Murray.

Shaun Roberts then picked up two wickets to match his two fine catches from earlier in the day.

Acle looked set to dismiss their visitors for a lowly target, but a sensible last wicket stand between Peter Thomas and Chris Gardiner frustrated the home side who were unable to secure the final bowling bonus point as Swardeston closed on 149-9.

Acle were confident of a comfortable chase but the freakish dismissal of Rob Porter for nought, given out handled ball after catching the ball as it bounced up from a defensive push, gave them the worst possible start. The fired-up Gardiner then created further damage by removing Handley and Murray as Acle stumbled to 20-4.

Munford embarked on a bold counter-attack, contributing 31 to a partnership of 48 with Dave Huggins. His dismissal left the game in the balance with Acle struggling at 68-5.

Gardiner's ferocious spell had been blunted by a largely defensive effort from Huggins, and with the Australian forced out of the attack Huggins and Roberts were able to put together a solid partnership to dig Acle out of trouble.

Roberts applied the finishing touches to remain unbeaten on 36 in a match- winning partnership of 82.

Acle will be relieved to win after following their best bowling performance of the season with some shaky top- order batting.

Man-of-the-match: Shaun Roberts.

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