Swardeston aiming to bounce back as East Anglian Premier League seasons gets under way

Joe Gatting has taken over as captain at Swardeston. Picture: Nick Butcher

Joe Gatting has taken over as captain at Swardeston. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Swardeston will have a big point to prove when the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier season finally gets under way on Saturday.

Having got used to starting as defending champions, Swardeston will go into the new campaign looking to put a frustrating near miss in 2017 behind them.

The postponement of a final day decider saw them finish 21 points behind Sudbury in the standings and the challenge for new skipper Joe Gatting and his team over the summer is to bounce back from a rare setback.

'I think what happened last year was a bit of a wake-up call,' said Gatting ahead of their opening fixture at Mildenhall. 'We have got to be a lot better over the course of the season. We didn't play enough good cricket and in the end Sudbury deserved to win the title, even though it was obviously frustrating how it all ended.'

Gatting shone with both and ball last season, scoring 753 runs at an average of 41.82 and taking 45 wickets at 30.18, and is raring to go after spending the close season in Australia and missing the miserable weather that promped the EAPL season to be delayed for a week.

He enjoyed a successful campaign with top Adelaide club Tea Tree Gully and is now looking forward to getting out on the pitch again.

'It was a really good trip,' he said. 'My wife is Australian so it gave us and our son a chance to catch up with the other side of the family.

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'The team had a good season and I also did a lot of coaching before travelling to India to do a bit of coaching out there, which was really interesing.'

Gatting is relishing the challenge of being captain, having taken over from the long-serving Mark Thomas.

'It's a tough act to follow, that's for sure,' said the allrounder, who skippered the side for a spell at end of last season. 'But I am honoured to have been given the opportunity - and the good thing is that Mark is still playing and I will have him in the side.'

There are three matches in Norfolk on Saturday, with Horsford hosting Burwell and Exning, Vauxhall Mallards taking on Cambridge Granta and Norwich and Great Witchingham meeting in a derby game at Ingham. All the early games of the season are 50 overs per side.

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