Swardeston advance in Royal London Club Championship to continue search for success on four fronts
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Swardeston's attempts to achieve further success on the national stage have taken another big stride forward in the Royal London Club Championship.
The reigning three-time East Anglian Premier League champions won by 43 runs at Ealing to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition and maintain their push for glory on four fronts.
The south Norfolk side are 19 points clear at the top of the EAPL with eight games to go as they look to win their fourth consecutive title.
This Friday they also face Vauxhall Mallards in the Norfolk Twenty20 final at Manor Park, before replaying their Carter Cup semi-final against Brooke on Sunday – which is being replayed because of confusion over the eligibility of a Brooke player, who won the original match.
It is the Club Championship which carries the highest profile though and captain Mark Thomas believes his side are capable of going all the way in the competition.
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'Potentially, yes,' Thomas said when asked if his could win the trophy.
'Every competition we go in to we look to try and win it, that what we are trying to do and I think if we keep playing well we've got a chance.
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'One of the nice things about the competition is all the people like me who have played in the East Anglian League for years, it's nice to play new people and visit new grounds, and spread your wings a bit by trying to beat those clubs.
'It's good for the club, good for the county and good for the league to have someone from a minor county doing quite well in a competition like this.'
The match at Ealing was being replayed after rain saw the original game abandoned with the hosts struggling on 31-5 when chasing Swardeston's total of 140, leaving the Norfolk side frustrated.
However Thomas's team eventually sealed progress into the quarter-finals with a 43-run victory over their west London opponents at Corfton Road on Sunday.
Swardeston won the toss and decided to bat first, with opener Peter Lambert leading the way with 59 to an eventual total of 242-8 in 45 overs.
Freddie Ruffell and wicketkeeper Stephen Gray both fell cheaply but Lewis Denmark (20) stood up the innings by putting on 76 with Lambert.
Richard Sims scored 32 and Jason Reynolds 35 to keep the scoreboard ticking over nicely before Matthew Taylor scored a rapid 25 from 14 balls and skipper Thomas 19 from 11 to boost the total to 242.
Sims was then the star man with the ball, taking 4-39 as Ealing were bowled out for 199 in 39.5 overs, with Taylor also taking 3-39.
'It was a good all-round performance, everyone chipped in, we batted, bowled and fielded well,' Thomas said. 'Ealing I don't think lose many at home, certainly they've beaten us twice in the Twenty20 and as well in this competition before, so it was good to beat them.'
Swardeston reached the semi-finals of the competition in 2013 and have enjoyed success on the national stage in recent years, reaching the last-16 of a national competition in five of the last six seasons, including their biggest success, winning the ECB Cockspur T20 in 2010.