Mallards end Swardeston’s domination of Norfolk Twenty20

Vauxhall Mallards celebrate winning the Norfolk 20 20 Cricket FInal.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Vauxhall Mallards celebrate winning the Norfolk 20 20 Cricket FInal.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

There is finally a new name on the NW Brown Norfolk Twenty20 trophy after Vauxhall Mallards produced a superb allround performance to beat Swardeston at Manor Park on Friday night.

Mark Thomas' side went into the final with an unblemished record in the competition, having won it on all three occasions since its inception in 2013. But they were unable to make it four succesive triumphs as their East Anglian Premier League rivals recorded an emphatic seven wicket victory in front of a big crowd at the home of Norfolk cricket.

Having won the toss and not surprisingly chosen to bat first in the best of the light, Swardeston were restricted to 130-9 in their 20 overs, and Mallards' batsmen then maintained the good work by getting home with more than two overs to spare.

'It was a really good allround performance and I am proud of the lads,' said Mallards' skipper Ali Shearer. 'We have got a well balanced team, with good seamers and spinners and good batsmen too, with people who are prepared to go hard at the top of the order. We haven't always been able to get them all together at the same time but we did tonight and it was a good win for us.'

Swardeston suffered an early blow when dangerman Peter Lambert went for just two, caught by Paul Bradshaw off the bowling off Mitchell Todd.

Stephen Gray (26) and Joe Gatting then put on 39 for the second wicket, with Gatting adding a further 31 for the third with Lewis Denmark (10) – but tight bowling from Mallards ensured it was never easy going.

The holders' best hope of getting up to the around the 150 mark rested with the big hitting Gatting, but he went two short of his 50, clean bowled by Martin Addison.

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Todd then claimed the wickets of Jeremy Elliott and Matthew Taylor in successive deliveries and from that moment onwards it just was a case of how many Swardeston could salvage from the final overs. That they got up to 130-9 was down mainly to youngster Jason Reynolds, who hammered 36 in 24 balls, including a maximum off the final ball, to help give his side something to defend.

Mallards issued a statement of intent as they started their run chase, with opener John Ewart hitting the first three deliveries of the innings for four off Michael Eccles.

With Todd backing up his earlier 3-22 with some quick runs Shearer's team made it past the 40 mark in the fourth over – and the impressive batting continued after Ewart went for 14. Devon Conway provided more excellent support as Todd continued to take the game to the opposition by bringing up his half century off 36 balls with a six before going the very next ball when attempting to clear the ropes again.

The young Australian's fine innings meant Conway and new batsman Matt Plater had plenty of time to get the runs required and the dismissal of Conway for 23 was only a minor setback, with Mallards' reply having passed the 100-mark by then. Plater and Caswell saw their side home with the minimum off fuss, with Plater hitting Reynolds for six off the fourth ball of the 17th over to settle the issue.

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