New order in the power stakes
KEITH PEEL Swardeston have been saluted for taking over the mantle of Norfolk's top team.Mark Thomas and his men have finished as Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League runners-up to Bury St Edmunds, whose second successive title win was confirmed on Saturday.
Swardeston have been saluted for taking over the mantle of Norfolk's top team.
Mark Thomas and his men have finished as Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League runners-up to Bury St Edmunds, whose second successive title win was confirmed on Saturday.
“The other sides haven't really been up to scratch in comparision with those two,” said Steve Goldsmith, who helped Vauxhall Mallards to four championships in the competition's first six years.
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“Swardeston would have had a very good chance of winning it in a normal season, but Bury have got the balance just right this year, with quality batters and four seamers as good as any in the league.
“Swardeston pushed them closest because, as well as having a good bowling attack, it has been a good season for their batting, which has been their weakness in the past.
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“But for Bury's seam bowling attack, I really do think Swardeston might have walked away with the title.”
Bury have an unassailable lead going into the season's closing day after the abandonment because of rain of both their match at Godmanchester and Swardeston's game against sixth-placed Mallards.
When a halt was called, Bury had made 117 for three in reply to Godmanchester's 178 for eight.
Matt Durrant top scored with 64 and Tony Palladino took six for 52.
All 11 wickets in the match fell to catches.
Swardeston were 43 for two when play ended at Brundall, where, after taking an amazing 10.5 overs to score their first run off the bat, Mallards eventually posted 158 for eight, with Norfolk spinner George Walker taking five for 70.
Fakenham's game against Cambridge Granta at Clare College was abandoned without a ball being bowled, but the day's other two fixtures did reach a conclusion.
There was a close encounter at Wamil Way, where bottom team Mildenhall made 205 for nine in response to fifth-placed Norwich's 215 for seven.
Harry Bush and skipper Chris Borrett both scored 45 for Norwich, while Peter Worthington hit 76 for Mildenhall before falling to Shaun Roberts, who finished with six for 67.
Grant Flower, not required by Essex, returned to Horsford's side and hit 50 to guide them to a three-wicket victory at Clacton.
The seasiders had been bowled out for 149, with Norfolk spinner Chris Brown, the league's leading wicket-taker, bagging five for 50.
t Mildenhall, doomed to finish bottom, will debate their future at an extraordinary general meeting called for September 11, two days after the promotion/relegation play-off final.
“There are financial issues to be discussed, to see if we can support a team at Premier League level,” said club captain Richard Cross.
“But I believe most people in the club are positive about staying in the league.
“Certainly, if we win the play-offs, we need to bring in four or five players for next season, because this year we have not been good enough.”
Mildenhall's longer term future looks bright, though, because on Wednesday their under-15s compete in the Portman Group National Under-15s Competition finals day.