Second place is not enough for Brown

Horsford skipper Chris Brown is keen to avoid his side being labelled nearly men ahead of their Carter Cup final against Vauxhall Mallards on Sunday.

It is the third time in four years that Brown's side have reached the final, but they were beaten by Swardeston in 2008 and lost out to Fakenham last year. They finished as runners-up in the Norfolk Twenty20 Cup last month and although they are not out of the running in the East Anglian Premier League, Sunday's final represents their best chance of silverware this season.

Brown said: 'It is important to win something. I don't want to end up like Somerset last year, playing great cricket but finishing second in the Championship and missing out in two major finals. I don't want the lads to do their best, I just want them to do their jobs and if everyone fulfils their roles I'm sure we'll give Vauxhall a fantastic game.'

The Norfolk player-coach is enjoying a purple patch of form, with two five-wicket hauls in his last three league games along with 22 wickets for Norfolk in the three recent festival matches at Manor Park.

Brown believes that Horsford's quartet of Norfolk players will have a key role to play on Sunday: 'One plus we have got is that some of our lads have played some fantastic cricket for Norfolk at the festival over the last few weeks,' he said. 'Not just myself, but Luke Caswell, Matthew and Michael Warnes have done well so they've got a bit of experience of playing in big games at Manor Park. Most of the other lads have experience of playing in two Carter Cup finals and we can't wait for Sunday.

'The last two or three weeks I've probably bowled as well as I've ever done in my life.

'I bowled 79 overs against Suffolk this week and took nine for 87, so if I can keep that going, bring on Sunday.'

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Horsford finally broke their winning duck away from home last weekend and Brown added: 'We played well at Swardeston last week and it was good to break that hoodoo because we have struggled away from home this year. But we've managed to turn that around and confidence is high, so it should be a cracking game.

'Mallards are a dangerous side and they have got some destructive players, but so have we so I think it'll be quite an even game. The last time we played them in the Carter Cup was in the semi-final at Manor Park in 2008 so we'll hope for the same again.'

Brown has resisted the temptation to select Essex batsman Jaik Mickleburgh on Sunday, preferring to stick with the players who earned Horsford their place in the final.

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