Spelman: Witchingham must stay grounded

Phil BanyardGreat Witchingham skipper James Spelman believes it is too early to talk about his table-topping side as title contenders.Spelman's men leapt to the EAPL summit with a five-wicket win at Bury St Edmunds last weekend, but the Norfolk batsman is keen to play down the Witches' flying start.Phil Banyard

Great Witchingham skipper James Spelman believes it is too early to talk about his table-topping side as title contenders.

Spelman's men leapt to the EAPL summit with a five-wicket win at Bury St Edmunds last weekend, but the Norfolk batsman is keen to play down the Witches' flying start.

He said: "If we are still in this position at the halfway stage of the season then you might have to say we are in contention, but at the moment the goals are the same as they were at the start of the season - to improve on last year and get a top six finish.

"We don't want to get carried away by a few good results, as a couple of losses would soon set us back."


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Spelman admits that the league campaign has so far gone better than expected: "We've had a fantastic start," he said. "On paper it looked like we had three really tough opening games - the champions, Vauxhall Mallards, then Norwich who were runners-up last year and then Bury away. So to get two wins and a draw is a great effort."

Batting strength has been the key to Witchingham's success so far, although there was perhaps a taster of things to come at the weekend as overseas duo Bardo Fransman and Sebastian Logan took the new ball for the first time together in the league.

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"It was quite a green wicket at Bury so I decided to bowl first and they both bowled really well," said Spelman. "They give our bowling a bit more attacking threat. If we can continue as we are and the middle order contribute some runs as well, we are looking a decent all-round side who are well covered in all areas."

While Spelman himself has contributed significantly with the bat, the early signs are that Norfolk skipper Carl Rogers may enjoy something of a golden summer. His average from three league innings is 109.5 and while such statistics mean little at such an early stage, Rogers' form has certainly been eyecatching.

"He sticks to his game plan and it seems to work all the time," said Spelman. "He's had an excellent start to the season and he just keeps it simple really. He's a great example for the young guys to learn from."

Witchingham host struggling Halstead tomorrow, with Spelman wary of the favourites tag which will accompany his side into the game.

"In a way it's our toughest game yet because we will be favourites, probably for the first time this year, and the pressure will be on us," he said.

In contrast to Witchingham, Norwich will aim to put a nightmare start to their 2010 campaign behind them when Bury visit Postwick tomorrow. Chris Borrett's side have yet to record their first win and lie bottom of the table.

Swardeston have struggled to turn their dominance in games into victories and after three successive draws they host Clacton.

Fakenham notched their first win last weekend, but they may have to contend with Grant Flower tomorrow. The Zimbabwean could feature for Burwell at Highfield Lawn as Essex are not in action.

Vauxhall Mallards travel to Saffron Walden, while Horsford face Cambridge Granta at Manor Park.

n Great Witchingham have sealed a new three-year sponsorship deal with Dereham-based planning and property consultancy Pelorus.

All of Witchingham's Saturday and Sunday sides will wear the new Pelorus shirts and the club's coloured clothing for the Norfolk Twenty20 Cup will also bear the company logo.

Managing director of Pelorus, Phillip Eglen, said: "Pelorus are proud and delighted to have the opportunity to be the main sponsors of Great Witchingham Cricket Club. I know that both the teams at Pelorus and Great Witchingham will be working extremely hard to achieve the success that they deserve."

Witchingham chairman Andrew Payne added: "It's a great deal for the club and it will enable us to continue to improve. We're looking forward to a long and happy relationship with Pelorus."

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