Sam Arthurton the man for Great Witchingham’s big game

PUBLISHED: 12:13 15 June 2012

Sam Arthurton is averaging more than 100 in all competitions for Great Witchingham this season.

Sam Arthurton is averaging more than 100 in all competitions for Great Witchingham this season.

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Runs have been at a premium for many batsmen in the soggy conditions so far this summer – but Great Witchingham teenager Sam Arthurton is bucking the trend with an average in excess of 100.

The 19-year-old already has two centuries under his belt this year and he is hoping to maintain his fine form for Witchingham’s biggest game of the season this Sunday. The Witches host Shepherd Neame Essex League Premier Division side Brentwood in the group final of the National Club Championship – the Kingfisher Beer Cup – and Arthurton said: “It’s a big game for the club because we haven’t won a big competition before and although we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves, we obviously want to go as far as we can.

“We saw what Swardeston did by winning the national club Twenty20 competition so everyone at the club is really looking forward to taking on Brentwood.”

As for his own stunning form – he has 617 runs from eight innings in all club competitions this season – Arthurton insists there is no mysterious secret to his success: “It’s always good to get runs because that’s what you train to do, but really I’ve just kept things simple this year,” he said. “I had a bit of a break at the end of last season before I got back into training and really I’ve just been working hard and watching the ball hard – just sticking to the basics.

“Conditions haven’t been great for batting because we’ve not had the best start to the summer, so you have to have the mindset that it’s not going to be easy and that you’re going to have to work hard.

“You have to give yourself the best possible chance when you go out there and rather than going too early and trying to get runs too quickly I’ve tried to be patient.”

Despite Arthurton’s prolific start to the campaign and a similarly impressive contribution from the Witchingham top order, his side are yet to record a league win this year, with five draws to date. The crux of the problem has been Witchingham’s failure to bowl an opposition side out in the league this summer, but Arthurton is not unduly concerned: “Our strength is in our batting and that’s been shown with some of the scores we have put on the board,” he said. “We haven’t been able to build enough pressure to get through sides and a few of the guys have struggled to take wickets, but I’m sure when we get that first win we’ll be fine. No-one is too worried – we are scoring runs, fielding well and the bowling has been good as well, we just need a bit of luck to get all 10 wickets.”

Arthurton was with the Essex Academy from the age of 16 to 18 and he still appears regularly for the second team, who are currently captained by another Norfolk product, Jaik Mickleburgh.

“I’m playing for the second team at the moment and I’ve started quite well this year,” said Arthurton. “I’m just working hard and doing as well as I can and trying to get them to notice me. It is then up to them and the ball’s in their court, I’ve just got to show a good attitude and enjoy it.

“I’m still only 19 and a lot of people don’t get the opportunities that I’ve had, so I’m just working as hard as I can to hopefully try and get a contract.

“If it doesn’t happen then obviously I’ll have a decision to make, but Essex is a good club and they’ve done a lot for me so hopefully I will get something, but I know I’m only going to get that by continuing to do well.”

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Opinion: It’s been a very eventful few days for Norwich City, and it all started with that brilliant 1-0 win at Ashton Gate. This win was thanks to another wonderful James Maddison goal and one hell of a save by Angus Gunn, one his old man I’m sure would have been proud to make. Sadly Norwich went out of the FA Cup at the third round stage for the fourth consecutive season, but gave a magnificent account of themselves and pushed Chelsea all the way – but it wasn’t to be as they were knocked out in the cruellest way, on penalties. The win against Bristol City means the club have won nearly twice as many away games as they have done at Carrow Road, Norwich are now unbeaten in their last four league games while conceding just one goal in those four games. Saturday gives City an opportunity to win back-to-back league games for the first time at Carrow Road this season, which is quite astounding considering we’re now in mid-January. I guess it just goes to show how they’ve struggled to break teams down and how inconsistent they have been on their own patch. Chris Wilder brings his out-of-sorts Sheffield United down to Carrow Road – I’m sure he’ll get a nice warm welcome from the Norwich faithful after some of the remarks he made after Norwich’s very impressive win at Bramall Lane in a bad-tempered game earlier in the season when the Blades we’re flying in the league, something they aren’t quite doing at this moment in time, having won just one of their last 10 Championship games. I think tomorrow gives the lads a real chance of closing the gap even more on the teams in those play-off positions. I scored a few goals against Sheffield United in my career, especially when I played at Bramall Lane – a brace for Leicester springs to mind. I scored a couple for Norwich against them at Carrow Road and looking back on my 96 goals for the Canaries, one of those was one of the most important that I scored for the club. The first of those two City goals came in a thrilling game when we found ourselves 2-0 with just 24 minutes gone, but we made the boos and the jeers turn to cheers with goals from Phil Mulryne, Tony Cottee (his one and only for Norwich), Chris Llewelyn and yours truly seeing us make a tremendous comeback to win the game 4-2. The other goal I was talking about came in our Championship-winning season on January 31 and, as I said, it’s right up there with some of the most important goals I scored for the club. It was a top-of-the-table clash as both us and Sheffield United had had a very good first half to the season and were fighting it up at the top of the league. It was a very close game with not many clear-cut chances until a ball broke to me in the 59th minute. It came to me perfectly, about 12 yards from goal and without breaking my stride I smashed it past the helpless Paddy Kenny and Carrow Road erupted. It was a very important win for us and as a forward there’s no better result than winning the game 1-0 with you getting the winner. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish both Russell Martin and Cameron Jerome all the very best at their new clubs. Both have been magnificent servants to the club and have been ultimate professionals while they’ve represented Norwich City and have always given everything when they’ve played. Both have taken harsh criticism in the last two or three seasons and at times been made scapegoats, but one thing is for sure, they’ve never hidden and taken everything on the chin and got on with things. Let’s hope that whoever comes in to replace Russ and Cameron will show the same level of commitment to Norwich City over the next few years.

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