Mark Thomas decides to stand down as Swardeston captain

Hockwold CCs Roy Bland is the Cecil Amey Opticians Norfolk Alliance player of the month for August.

Hockwold CCs Roy Bland is the Cecil Amey Opticians Norfolk Alliance player of the month for August. Roys efforts helped Hockwold to secure promotion from Division Five, with scores of 58 not out, 84 and 107 not out helping him reach an impressive 1,016 runs for the season. Other notable performances came from Finn Grist of Martham (63 not out 110, 91) and Pete Sims of Lowestoft A (88, 85 not out, and 100 not out). Roy is pictured with Cecil Amey Norwich general manager Oly Frankel and Alliance general secretary Andy Westgate. Picture: Cecil Amey - Credit: Archant

Mark Thomas has decided to step down as Swardeston captain after a hugely successful spell at the helm.

Having turned 40 at the turn of the year Thomas feels it is time for a younger man to take over, and is hoping to be part of a bright new future as a player.

'I have been captain for 10 to 12 years now and have been proud to lead the team, but I decided it was time for a change,' said the man who guided Swardeston to five successive East Anglian Premier League titles and two national Twenty20 successes.

'I think now is the time for a younger man to take the club forward and in the meantime I will work hard on my fitness and hopefully be part of it. I'll certainly make myself available for selection and if I make the first team then great.

'I have really enjoyed my time as captain. All the title wins were special but I guess the highlights were the two Twenty20 final wins at Southampton and Derby.

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'Getting to the final of the national 45-over competition at Northampton last year was also a great achievement, although it was obviously a big disappointment to lose the game.

'But there are certain things I won't miss, like having to ring someone up in midweek and tell them they won't be playing. It will be nice just to focus on playing the game.'

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Thomas took a back seat in the closing stages of the season as Swardeston narrowly missed out on a sixth straight EAPL title, with rivals Sudbury pipping them to the silverware by 21 points after the final day showdown between the two clubs was rained off.

'It was a case of taking myself side out of the side,' he explained. 'Callum Taylor was available for the run-in and he obviously had to come in and none of the other lads deserved to lose their place so I had to go and (vice-captain) Joe Gatting took over as captain.

'I was there and it was a shame the way it all finished because the weather denied us an opportunity to beat Sudbury and maybe win the title.

'But sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and congratulate the other side. Sudbury won 15 games over the course of the season, which is a superb achievement.'

A decision on the new captain will be made during the close season.

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