Brown sure Horsford can last distance

Horsford captain Chris Brown believes his side are better equipped than ever before to clinch their first major trophy since 2006.

Brown's men took over at the top of the East Anglian Premier League last weekend and are also gunning for glory on three cup fronts, having reached the semi-finals of the Carter Cup, the NACO Cup and the Norfolk Twenty20.

The Manor Park side last tasted silverware success five years ago when they lifted both the T20 Cup and Biss Trophy and as their season approaches the halfway stage, they are well placed to end that barren run.

Brown said: 'I'm really pleased with how it's going. The lads have worked hard in pre-season and up to now and as long as we keep that attitude up, I'm confident our good form can continue.'

Horsford started strongly last season before eventually finishing fifth, but Brown believes his team stand a better chance of maintaining their challenge on all four fronts this year. He said: 'The difference is that last year we relied heavily on our overseas player, Chris Sabburg, who had an excellent season. Apart from maybe Matthew Warnes and Jonny Atkinson we didn't have many other people contributing. This year, all of the top seven have scored Premier League 50s.

'After Chris Sabburg went home early last season to play for Queensland our season fell away a little bit, but now everyone is chipping in and we are not so reliant on our overseas player.'

That is not to say that Australian Reece O'Connell has not played his part in Horsford's success so far, as he hit a half-century and took three wickets with his left-arm spin in last weekend's win against Norwich.

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Brown hopes that was a sign of things to come from O'Connell: 'He's perhaps not got the runs he should have done so far (O'Connell has 282 runs from nine innings at an average of just over 35) but he's bowled well when needed and has taken 15 wickets in the league. I think there's definitely more to come from him in the second half of the season.'

All six of Horsford's league wins so far have come at Manor Park, but they now face back to back away matches, at Vauxhall Mallards tomorrow and at Cambridge Granta next weekend. Their form on the road perhaps holds the key to whether they can maintain their title challenge, but Brown insists his team have the right attributes: 'As a team we are trusting each other a bit more,' he said. 'We haven't been able to practise as much as I would like because we have the T20 competition going on at Manor Park at the moment, but there is a fantastic team spirit and the lads have really gelled together.'

There is another all-Norfolk clash at Postwick tomorrow as second-placed Swardeston visit bottom of the table Norwich, who had shown signs of improvement until last weekend's defeat at Manor Park.

The side Horsford displaced at the top, Great Witchingham, are at home to Burwell.

Norfolk Alliance Premier Division leaders Fakenham have won all eight of their completed games this term and they round off the first half of their season with a trip to Brooke.

Dereham will hope to repeat their opening day victory against Division Two leaders Hethersett & Tas Valley when the top two do battle again tomorrow.

Rollesby's unbeaten run came to a halt last weekend, but it did not cost them top spot in Norfolk League Division One and they will aim to get back on track at fifth-placed Caister tomorrow.

Sandringham opened up a 22-point gap at the top of West Norfolk League Division One last weekend and tomorrow they host Snettisham.