Horsford hope to stay distance in East Anglian Premier League title race

Horsford skipper Chris Brown believes his side can learn from the mistakes of recent seasons and last the distance in this year's EAPL title race.

Brown's side have been in contention at various stages of each of the last two seasons before their challenge faded away.

This year they are currently second with seven games remaining and Brown is confident Horsford, who travel to Saffron Walden tomorrow, have the necessary staying power: 'I would hope we've learnt something from the last two years,' said Brown. 'We've been round about the top at this stage before, but now it's time to maintain what we are doing.

'We've only lost one game in the league and that was a really tight game against Swardeston.

'We lost to Sprowston in the Carter Cup and the Twenty20 Cup but they went on to win the Twenty20 and deservedly so, so I'm not too worried by those results. We just need to keep doing what we are doing and then we should not be too far away at the end of the season.'

Horsford undeniably have extra batting strength this year, with Australian duo Chris Sabburg, pictured, and James Wild in the middle order – although Jaik Mickleburgh's century for Essex yesterday could mean he plays no part in the title run-in.

'Chris is eighth in the EAPL averages and he's come into a bit of form lately,' said Brown. 'James Wild has not got the runs he would have liked, but he's bowled well.

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'Both of them bring a lot of energy to the side. They play cricket hard and that has helped keep the intensity up.

'With Jaik, we'll have to see if his fixtures clash with our games. I'm really pleased for him that he's got back in the Essex side and is showing what he can do. Of course, it would be great to have him available, but if he's doing well for Essex we are all delighted.'

Horsford trail leaders Swardeston by 14 points and the two sides meet at The Common in two weeks' time – but Brown will miss the showdown. The Horsford skipper, a Level Four qualified coach, has been asked to attend an ICC Americas training camp and regional tournament in Barbados and will also miss the final match of Norfolk's Minor Counties Championship campaign.

'Horsford have been really supportive and I'm grateful for that,' said Brown. 'I've been here since 2001 and I've only missed one game, when I played for the Unicorns against Lancashire.'

Just 37 points separate the top five and Brown is braced for a tight finish to the season: 'I think you can look as far down as Clacton, in fifth,' he said.

'We're all in with a shout and it's down to the business end of the season now. There's still seven matches left and that's 210 points to play for, but it could be an exciting finish.'

Swardeston host Burwell tomorrow and will hope skipper Mark Thomas can repeat his heroics from the reverse fixture earlier in the season, when he took seven wickets in a five-wicket victory for the Norfolk side.

Third-placed Vauxhall Mallards travel to seemingly doomed bottom side Halstead, who they bowled out for just 50 in a six-wicket win back in May.

Great Witchingham, who played a key role in the congestion at the top of the table by beating Swardeston last weekend, travel to Clacton.