Vauxhall Mallards bowl out Great Witchingham for 45 to win last Carter Cup final
- Credit: Archant
Vauxhall Mallards produced a devastating performance with the ball at Manor Park yesterday to win the very latest Carter Cup Final with something to spare.
Few would have predicted an emphatic Mallards victory after they had been dismissed for just 126 by Great Witchingham, with only three batsmen reaching double figures.
But with veteran seamer Paul Bradshaw firing on all cyclinders, and Adam Todd providing excellent support, the game was then turned on its head as the Witches were skittled out inside 19 overs for just 45.
With ball dominating bat all afternoon, and the run rate never getting above three an over, this certainly wasn't the thrilling spectacle one would have hoped for in such an historic occasion.
But it was a fascinating battle none-the-less, with two much changed sides shrugging off the loss of key players to produce a match that, after a slow start, had a real sting in the tail.
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There's no doubt the final would have been enhanced by presence of the five men who were on Norfolk duty 150 miles away at Wormsley. But whether their inclusion would have made any difference to the nature of the game is a matter for debate.
Players of the quality of Sam Arthurton, Matthew Plater and Ben France might well have added a few extra runs to the equation on a pitch that made life a constant challenge for the batsmen - but then bowlers of the calibre of Andy Hanby, Brett Stolworthy and all-rounder France would doubtless have made life even more difficult than the men who came into replace them.
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After winning a toss carried out by RG Carter chairman Robert Carter Mallards' skipper Bradshaw decided to get the batting out of the way first, and it soon became obvious that the 50th and last Carter Cup Final would not a spectacular run fest.
With a combination of a slow pitch and poor light playing into the bowlers' hands, youngsters Hudson de Lucchi and Charlie Nunn were soon back in the pavilion without a run between them and it quickly became a battle of attrition as Harry Barker and Nicholas Smit attempted to dig their side out of a hole.
Barker faced 37 balls for nine before being the third to go with the score on 33 and it was soon 51-4, with Troy Allan dismissed for four.
Overseas player Smit was still there however and he and Adam Todd then put together what proved to be the highest partership of the day of 44 to get their side up towards the three figure mark with 20 overs still to be bowled.
At that stage a total of 200 looked a possibility but it all changed when the two set batsmen went in quick succession. Todd was caught behind by Mike Jones - who shared wicket-keeping duties with Tom Collishaw in the absence of the unavailable Sam Groves - before Smit took on the spin of Collishaw and was caught in the deep by Will Means.
It was the end of a patient vigil from the South African, who faced 96 balls for his 56, while Todd's contribution was a useful 24.
Their dismissals marked the end of Mallards as an attacking force, with the tail knuckling down to get the total up to 126 in a backs-to-the-wall effort epitomised by young Harry Nunn, who lasted 40 balls while making just 13.
An excellent bowling display was a real team effort, with James Spelman taking three wickets and Means, Jones and Collishaw two apiece, and it appeared to have put the Witches driving firmly seat.
But Mallards had the ideal bowler to exploit the conditions in the shape of the evergreen Bradshaw and he swiftly removed two key batsmen for ducks, with Spelman caught behind and Murray Breetzke clean bowled.
Bradshaw then had the key figure of Jones caught behind and when Todd bowled Matthew Long for what proved to be a top score of 15 the Witches were in all sorts of trouble at 23-4.
They needed a partnership to get their challenge back on track but it never arrived, with Bradshaw (5-20) and Todd (2-17) continuing to wreak havoc before Troy Allan wrapped up proceedings by claiming three wickets in eight deliveries to put a struggling side out of their misery.