Bad start for Carter Cup as Sheringham and Cromer pull out

Carter Cup: It was hailed as a new start for the Carter Cup on Sunday – but the competition suffered familiar problems as two teams failed to fulfil their fixtures.

The competition has been reorganised this year, with the strongest-rated teams entering at the second round stage to try and avoid potential mismatches. Despite hopes that the changes would increase competition and interest in the early stages, Cromer and Sheringham were unable to field teams for their first round ties on Sunday.

Competition chairman John Bettridge said: 'I am very disappointed, bearing in mind the consultation that took place over the winter and the fact that clubs committed themselves to the competition this year. It is in the hands of the committee what action will be taken, but the rules are quite specific that the clubs will be fined and barred from taking any further part in the competitions this year.'

It is a further blow for the 43-year-old competition after three clubs – Brooke, Happisburgh and Lowestoft – received bans from the Carter Cup for failing to fulfil fixtures last season. They all failed to play matches in the Lady Mary Trophy, the competition for teams knocked out in the first round of the Carter Cup, last year. Cromer also withdrew from a Lady Mary match last season, but received just a warning after accepting and meeting the penalties imposed on them.

In the matches which did go ahead on Sunday, the most fiercely contested was at Bradenham, where Stow won by 21 runs.

Stow batted first and there were centuries for Ed Landymore (106) and Steve Moulton (114no) in their total of 275 for seven, while Alex Bates took five for 44 from his 12 overs.

In reply, Bradenham were always just behind the required rate, but half-centuries from Brett Stolworthy (76) and Lewis Denmark (66) pushed them close, as they finished on 254 all out. Daniel Ward took four for 48 and Moulton completed his excellent day with three wickets.

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Old Buckenham beat Swaffham by eight wickets, with Peter Goldsmith taking four for 26 as Swaffham were dismissed for 123. Tom Banham hit 60 as Bucks took less than 18 overs to reach their target.

Rob Porter hit 108no to lead Beccles to a seven-wicket win at Hardingham. Robbie Fowle top scored with 72 in Hardingham's competitive total of 239 for eight and although Dave Turrell took three for 39 in the Beccles reply, Porter secured victory for the visitors in the 50th over.

Sprowston maintained their flying start to the season with a 94-run win at Alliance Premier Division rivals Diss.

The visitors recovered from a poor start to post 291 all out, with Andy Hanby hitting 67 and Simon Chipperfield making 56. Diss slumped to 96 for seven, but Will Dawson fired 93 as they were bowled out for 197.

Acle defeated Dereham by 118 runs, while Mattishall beat Bungay by 71 runs.

Hethersett & Tas Valley and Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers received byes as a result of Cromer and Sheringham's withdrawal.

The second round will be played on Sunday, May 29, and will include the first round winners along with the five East Anglian Premier League sides, plus holders Fakenham and the top two from last season's Alliance Premier Division, Downham and North Runcton.