East Anglian Premier League round-up: Great Witchingham win as James Spelman shines again
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Great Witchingham claimed more Norfolk bragging rights as James Spelman continued his red-hot start to the campaign.
The county star inspired his side to back-to-back derby triumphs as they built on their victory against Horsford by seeing off Norwich by six wickets. The hosts won the toss and appeared to have made the right decision with the city outfit's openers struggling to make an impression.
Russell Emmanuel (31) and Ben Hutchinson (34) were the key components of a middle order resistance until Spelman removed the latter and took three more wickets to end with figures of 4-44. South African Johannes Diseko also helped tighten the grip on the visitors sending two men back to the pavilion while conceding a miserly 32 runs off his 16 overs – seven of which went for maidens.
Having set 198 for victory Norwich knew they couldn't allow the Witches to get up a head of steam. But they failed to prevent Spelman and Sam Arthurton (46) from reaching 89 during an opening stand that put their troops in a commanding position.
Aaron and Ashley Watson took two wickets apiece yet the damage was done as their opponents' remaining opener was joined at the crease by his brother Jonathan to add another 72 to Witchingham's tally.
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They soon wrapped up the triumph with Spelman carrying his bat for 95. The 31-year-old, an opening-day five aside, has also struck 81 and 74 during an impressive opening to the 2015 EAPL campaign.
There was another home victory as Swardeston returned to winning ways following a rare defeat last time out. The league's dominant force of recent years made it three wins from four by heaping more misery on an out-of-sorts Horsford.
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The Manor Park outfit would have struggled to post 110 had it not been for opener Nathan Perry-Warnes' 63. He could only watch on in horror though as wickets tumbled around him until Tom Birks (26) showed some stickability at number five. The pair put on 52 until they both succumbed to George Walker's left-arm spin.
Walker's vital wickets – he went on to claim two more – triggered a crushing collapse which saw Horsford crash from 96-4 to all out just 14 measly runs later. Nine of the early-season strugglers' batsmen failed to reach double figures.
Swardeston may have lost five wickets in their reply but got the job done with plenty of overs to spare. The comfortable success keeps them at the front of the chasing pack who are trying to keep pace with a Cambridge Granta side who have a 100pc record so far.
Horsford, meanwhile, are one point off the bottom having failed to record a victory.
Elsewhere, Vauxhall Mallards were unable to follow up their opening EAPL win of the year last time out when they lost by seven wickets at home to Woolpit.
Ali Shearer's 32 was as good as it got during an unthreatening 97 which was always going to be chased down – especially when Sam Webb-Snowling hit a patient near run-a-ball 50.
Little more than 24 hours later it was a less than enjoyable day for the Witches though as they crashed out of the Carter Cup.
The matches left over from the previous week, which had been cancelled due to bad weather, were played in glorious conditions at Cromer and Witchingham.
Both of Sunday's games saw Alliance Premier Division clubs up against opposition from the EAPL and in both cases the underdog ruled the roost. At Cromer the hosts batted first and made 192 all out with contributions from Matthew Warnes (59) and Anthony Robinson (40). Jack Timmins (3-36) and Kieran Peters (3-44) were the mainstay of the bowlers. In reply higher-tier Horsford, the Carter Cup holders, came up 57 runs short and never looked set to reach the Cromer total.
For Horsford Stephen Marillier was the only batsman who got going, scoring 46. For Cromer Anthony Robinson (3-37) and Warnes (3-11) – who earlier had scored valuable runs – both picked up three wickets. Paul Winterborne also got in on the act with 3-22.
The EAPL Witches posted 236-6 in their match with James Hale (103) posting the first century in this year's competition. He was ably abetted by Jonathan Spelman who scored 54. For Old Buckenham – who won at Downham on Saturday – Andy Lawrence took three wickets.
In reply Bucks went into tea after 30 overs with 108 on the board for the loss of four wickets.
They reached their target with six intact thanks to Peter Free (84no) and James Heaney (54no).
Terry Perry's Bucks and Tom Davies' Cromer therefore join last week's winners in the second round of the Carter Cup which will be drawn live on Radio Norfolk on Friday at approximately 6.25 pm.
Carter/NACO Trophy (for first-round losers in the Carter Cup) first round draw for the 50 overs per side competition: Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wdrs v Horsford, Great Witchingham v Fakenham, Stow v Lowestoft, N Runcton v Sprowston. All games to be played on June 7.