Mallards aim for perfect 10 cup wins

Vauxhall Mallards will be gunning for their 10th Carter Cup success when they face Horsford in the final at Manor Park on Sunday, August 14.

Having been in charge when rain caused the first staging of their semi-final against Swardeston to be abandoned, Mallards picked up where they left off in that match to complete a 129-run win on Sunday.

In the other semi-final, Horsford were five-wicket winners at Great Witchingham to book their third final appearance in four years.

At Brundall, Mallards chose to bat first and Carl Amos followed up his league century on Saturday with 60 from 71 balls.

Swardeston – without George Walker and Peter Lambert, who were on Norfolk duty – pegged them back to 171 for five, with Jaden Hatwell picking up two wickets, but a century stand between Ali Shearer (58no) and Steve Goldsmith (57) turned the match back in Mallards' favour. Goldsmith's 34-ball innings featured seven fours and three sixes and helped the hosts rack up 289 for seven from their 60 overs.

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Mallards skipper Paul Bradshaw then gave his side the perfect start in the Swardeston reply as he had New Zealander Joel Abraham caught at mid-on in the first over.

It soon got much worse for Swardeston as Bradshaw claimed the wickets of Daniel Martin and Richard Sims, before Martin Addison removed Hatwell. Bradshaw then ran out Will Rist for a duck, and when Gerrie Snyman dismissed Ed Hopkins, also without scoring, the visitors were in tatters at 23 for five.

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Skipper Mark Thomas joined Ian Tufts and they saved face for Swardeston with a stand of 83 before Thomas' colourful innings was ended on 51.

It was then just a matter of time before Mallards completed their win and although Tufts batted on to finish on 64no, Swardeston were all out for 160 in the 36th over, with Michael Eccles not batting because of a hand injury.

The defeat scuppers Swardeston's chances of a clean sweep of league and cup success this summer. They have already won the Norfolk Twenty20 Cup and are top of the East Anglian Premier League, but they will have a chance for revenge over Mallards when the two sides meet in the NACO Cup final next month.

The other semi-final saw both sides depleted by absentees on Norfolk duty, including Horsford skipper Chris Brown and his Witchingham counterpart James Spelman.

Witchingham batted first and were all out for 205, with Shaun Arthurton making 88 and Ryan McCone adding 66.

Horsford lost five wickets in their successful run chase, with an unbroken partnership between Matthew Wilkinson (69no) and Ryan Findlay (58no) proving decisive.

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