Mallards hold their nerve in thriller

Holders Vauxhall Mallards edged a classic Carter Cup final against Swardeston at Manor Park yesterday.Mallards won by virtue of losing one fewer wicket after the sides were tied - skipper Paul Bradshaw and Martin Addison scrambling through for a leg bye off the final delivery to match Swardeston's 200 all out total.

Holders Vauxhall Mallards edged a classic Carter Cup final against Swardeston at Manor Park yesterday.

Mallards won by virtue of losing one fewer wicket after the sides were tied - skipper Paul Bradshaw and Martin Addison scrambling through for a leg bye off the final delivery to match Swardeston's 200 all out total.

The East Anglian Premier League leaders and Norfolk 20/20 winners had been in the box seat after reducing Mallards to 134 for 8.

Man of the match Bradshaw dug in to launch a stunning tail end fight back - anchoring two match-winning partnerships on his way to a priceless half-century.


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Mallards required seven runs from the final over, but it needed Bradshaw to race through for a last ball leg bye as Swardeston's wicketkeeper Will Rist missed his shy at the stumps.

“I'm a bit shocked at the moment,” admitted Bradshaw. “It's just pure relief because I thought I'd blown it when I ran out Jonathan Spelman. I found a capable partner in Martin and we just ground it out.

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“To come out on top in a game like that is an amazing feeling. It could have gone either way with the last ball - they could have bowled us out and won by one wicket.

“Then it would have been them feeling like we do now and vice versa. The keeper has done everything right but just missed the stumps. I guess it was meant to be our day.

“This is the biggest one-day competition in the county and to win against a good side is brilliant. Swardeston bowled it in the right areas and fielded really well. It's a great feeling.”

Bradshaw saluted his side's courageous never-say-die spirit.

“People thought we were down and out but we kept going and kept believing,” he said. “We always felt if we batted the overs we would get the runs because we didn't think the run rate was a problem.

“We were more than happy to get them out for 200. Looking at the track it was always going to be best first up. After the fourth wicket went down that was our target and we knew we were in for a good shout. Every single one of the lads should be proud of themselves because it took a huge team effort. We've got a decent unit this season - we don't have to rely on just one or two. The side bats a long way down and that was proved with 10 and 11 getting decent runs.”

Bradshaw spearheaded Mallards' bowling display with impressive figures of 4 for 31 before starring with the bat to clinch his eighth winners medal.

“I got a few decent knocks when I was younger, but things just went my way,” he said.

“Winning this trophy is right up there with the first one we won in 1995 against Horsford in the last over. That was the first time the club had won the competition as well, so it's a special feeling.”

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