Norwich will not take Sprowston lightly in Carter Cup final
Norwich first team captain Chris Borrett believes his side are favourites for Sunday's Carter Cup final – but is well aware of the threat posed by cup specialists Sprowston.
Borrett, who is handing over captaincy duties to Ashley Watson for Sunday's match at Manor Park (10.45am), has led Norwich to a league double over Sprowston this year, but has also seen the tables turned in the Norfolk Twenty20 Cup. Sprowston went on to win that competition, beating East Anglian Premier League side Vauxhall Mallards in the final and Borrett said: 'They beat us along the way so I knew they had some players who are key performers and who are effective at striking the ball.
'I expected Mallards to win that final, but Sprowston have some dangerous players and you never know in Twenty20.
'It could be the same on Sunday – it only takes one person to have an outstanding day and suddenly you are under pressure. That's why we have got to turn up and make sure we are at our best and we certainly won't be taking anything for granted.
'I definitely feel that we are favourites. In both league games our bowling performances have been excellent and we have bowled them out for low totals, so I feel bowling is our strength.'
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Borrett captained Norwich the last time they reached the final, when they were beaten by Swardeston in 2009, but if they are successful this time it will be Watson who lifts the cup: 'Ashley is vice-captain on Saturdays with a view to maybe becoming captain in the future, so we decided he would captain in the Carter Cup,' said Borrett.
'I'm maybe regretting it now, but I'm sure if we win I'll get a hand on the trophy!'
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Norwich have several survivors from that 2009 final, although Borrett does not feel that experience is as telling as it once might have been: 'It will definitely help, but it's not the same as when the finals used to be at Lakenham, where players had not played before if they hadn't played for Norfolk or in a final.
'The Sprowston players have played at Horsford before, but it is the final of Norfolk's biggest cup competition so it can be a daunting occasion.'
As well as Sprowston's T20 success, they were beaten semi-finalists in the NACO Cup and they also have a Mid Norfolk Sunday League Challenge Cup final against Anglians to look forward to later this month.
One thing is guaranteed – it will be only the second time since the formation of the EAPL that a side from outside the top flight has won the competition. The last time was in 2001 when Great Yarmouth, Gorleston & Martham beat Swardeston by 87 runs in a final played at the third attempt.
Norfolk Alliance Premier Division leaders Norwich warm up for Sunday's final with the visit of third-placed Downham to Postwick tomorrow, while Sprowston are at home to North Runcton.
Borrett's side have stretched their advantage to 28 points as Fakenham have had two games rained off in recent weeks and the captain admitted the weather has favoured his men: 'I don't think the format of the league is wrong because it encourages you to play cricket, but I think Fakenham will feel a bit aggrieved by having more games rained off than us,' he said. 'If the roles were reversed we would feel exactly the same.
'But we had a game rained off last year against Saffron Walden when we bowled them out for 50 and were 30 without loss and maybe that would have saved us from relegation from the EAPL. So perhaps this is things righting themselves.'
EAPL leaders Swardeston travel to reigning champions Cambridge Granta tomorrow.
Second-placed Vauxhall Mallards host Sudbury, while third meets fourth at Manor Park as Horsford take on Copdock & Old Ipswichian.
Great Witchingham, having won three of their last four completed games, are at home to Bury St Edmunds.
The EAPL table supplied by the league last weekend incorrectly showed Vauxhall Mallards at the top. Swardeston still lead the table on 248 points, with Mallards on 247.
n See tomorrow's EDP for a full list of the weekend's fixtures.