Swardeston clinch EAPL title
Swardeston clinched their second successive East Anglian Premier League title – and their fourth in all – on Saturday as the weather had the final say.
Mark Thomas' side went into the their last match of a sun-kissed campaign firmly in the driving seat, with a 20 point advantage over long-time rivals Cambridge Granta.
They knew only a strange set of results would deprive them of the silverware but in the end it didn't come down to events on the field of play, with heavy overnight rain making play impossible in either of the two key fixtures.
Swardestron had been due to take on local rivals Vauxhall Mallards at Brundall, while Granta had a fixture Saffron Walden, but any thoughts of late drama were ruled out early on as both teams had to settle for seven points.
All that was left then was for the EAPL trophy to be presented to Thomas and his side by league chairman David Browne and secretary Andy Abbott – and the celebrations to begin.
'We had a really good night and lads deserved it because it was an excellent effort throughout the season,' said Thomas. We only used 14 players all season and they all played a key part in winning the title. We had everyone available most weekends, and didn't have too many problems with injuries, and there were some good performances throughout the season.
'It was a real team effort although if I had to pick one individual performance out it would be Stephen Gray's 128 against Woolpit last week which helped set up our title win.
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'I guess over the course of the season the team that finishes with the most points is the best, especially in a summer like this when most of the games have been played to a conclusion. But Cambridge Granta pushed us all the way and you've got to give credit to them. The two of us finished well clear of the third placed side.'
In the final reckoning Swardeston ended up on 432 points, with Granta on 412 and Burwell a distant third on 341.
Only one match was played to the finish on Saturday, with Walcis Park recovering in time from the Friday night deluge to stage the derby between Great Witchingham and Horsford.
The visitors were put into bat and despite a fine knock from Matt Spenceley, who made 73 off 106 balls, they struggled in the face of some excellent bowling.
In the end useful knocks from Stephan Marillier (28) and Ryan Findlay (27) helped them up to 168 in 45 overs, with Stephan Joubert returning the impressive figures of five for 53.
That target always looked to be within the Witches' grasp and they got home in 41.2 overs for the loss of five wickets. Sam Arthurton led the way with 61 at around a run a ball while former Norfolk captain Carl Rogers helped complete the job with an unbeaten 50.