First Carter Cup glory for Horsford in over 15 years
Horsford's long wait for Carter Cup glory finally came to an end at their home ground yesterday when they recorded a thoroughly deserved four-wicket victory over Swardeston.
The champagne flowed at Manor Park as Chris Brown's side brought the trophy back to the home of Norfolk cricket for the first time since the showpiece event was switched there from Lakenham.
It was as long ago as 1998 that Horsford secured the last of their two cup triumphs so it was a magic moment for everyone connected with the club when young Ryan Findlay stroked the winning run after Swardeston had threatened a dramatic late fight-back.
Brown's men appeared to be cruising to a modest victory target of 180 in the country's last remaining 60-over competition when they reached 165-3 with plenty of overs in hand.
But that quickly became 166-6, with danger man Stephan Marillier among those to be dismissed, and it would have got even more nervy for Horsford had Sam Thelwell not dropped a simple catch that should have accounted for Findlay a few overs later.
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There were no alarms after that, with Findlay seeing his side to victory in the company of Brown, who heaped praise on his side before heading off to celebrate in style.
'We'll certainly have a few beers after that,' he said. 'I thought the lads were superb – it was a great all-round performance.
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'We bowled and fielded really well to restrict a very good Swardeston side to 179 and then batted sensibly to get the runs – that's all we needed to do.
'From a personal point of view this means everything. It's a great competition and we have come close on a number of occasions, losing in the final three times. Now we've finally done it, it's a great feeling.'
Swardeston were unable to build on an impressive start after skipper Mark Thomas had won the toss and decided to bat first. Peter Lambert got them up to 50 in no time at all with a quick-fire 31 but the pressure began to build as accurate bowling strangled the scoring rate.
It took a watchful 33 from Jeremy Elliott to help Swardeston post a target which at least required a run-rate of three an over. All the Horsford bowlers did their jobs well, with young spinner Caleb Futter finishing with figures of 9-2-14-3.
Horsford played solid cricket to pick up the silverware, exemplified by the performance of man of the match John Ratledge.
It was Horsford's day – although Swardeston will surely have their's in the next week or two, with the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League title firmly in their grasp.