East Anglian Premier League duo Swardeston and Norwich progress to Carter Cup final
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Paceman Michael Eccles ripped through Brooke's top order as Swardeston powered their way into the Carter Cup final yesterday.
While the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division hosts won the initial encounter – which was ordered to be replayed after disagreements about the eligibility of one of their players – Swardeston, going well before the rain struck during the second attempt, just had far too much for their lower-level opponents.
They will now play Norwich, who were comfortable winners against Vauxhall Mallards in yesterday's second rearranged match, in the final at Manor Park this Sunday.
Brooke's hopes were dealt a blow early on when Lewis Denmark ran out Rob Porter for just three. And it didn't get any better when Eccles' excellent showing with the ball swung into action by removing Richard Porter for 14.
The next three wickets fell to the same bowler as the East Anglian Premier League champions for the last three years running had their opponents floundering at 27-5.
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Mark Taylor then took two wickets of his own to increase the visitors' stranglehold on proceedings.
Ed Sturman and Rob Setchell offered a resistance of sorts as Brooke tried to make a game of it. Yet when the former went for 12, the away team's hopes of victory continued to look even stronger.
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Setchell carried his bat for 17 after digging in for 53 balls but ultimately a team total of 91 all out, which included 25 extras, was never going to be too hard to chase down.
Peter Lambert and Freddie Ruffell knew that they could take what was left of the game away from Brooke by opening the batting confidently. And that's exactly what they did at House Park to ensure the run chase remained as routine as it should have been.
Lambert scored 40 of the required total off 30 balls and walked away unbeaten thanks to a 52-minute knock which helped his men progress to this Sunday's showcase. Ruffell almost joined him in heading back to the pavilion without having been dismissed. Yet he went for the same total, off 11 more balls, when Will Minchin claimed Brooke's solitary wicket.
It was left to Stephen Gray to add eight runs as Swardeston completed their triumph – which owed a massive amount to the bowling powers of Eccles (4-17) and Taylor (3-36).
The victors' George Walker said on Twitter: 'Pleasure captaining the @SwardestonCC boys in Carter Cup win today v Brooke. Big three games completed this weekend #topeffort #hawaythelads.'
In the other semi-final, Norwich recorded an impressive 73-run victory over Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League rivals Vauxhall Mallards.
Norwich were all out for 230 and then bowled their opponents out for just 157.
Oly Higenbotham (48) and Sam Pointer (35) were the star men for Norwich with the bat while Matt Seager took three wickets for Mallards. Paul Bradshaw, Mitchell Todd and Devon Conway weighed in with two apiece.
Conway made 46 in Mallards' reply, with Todd contributing 26, while Jamie Mirner and Pointer took two wickets each for the victors.
The Carter Cup final between Swardeston and Norwich will take place at Manor Park on Sunday, starting at 10.45am.