Swardeston Sharks are crowned Norfolk Under-19 Twenty20 champions
- Credit: Archant
Swardeston Sharks scampered a single off the final ball to win the ECB Vitality Norfolk U19 Club T20 competition for the second time at Barton Turf on Sunday.
The final between the Sharks and Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers Spartans was originally due to be held at Great Melton in August but was rained off.
The Spartans, led by Joe Everett, won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on a sunny day. They got off to a good start, reaching 36 inside the powerplay before Swardeston first teamer Joe Flatt dismissed both openers. Some tight bowling continued to keep the score down before some good middle order hitting from Thomas Harris (38) and Cameron Marrable (20) helped lift the Spartans to 129-7 from their 20 overs.
The Sharks' chase got off to a bad start, with Marrable dismissing Ben Chapman with the score on six. This brought Sharks skipper Alfie Cooper to the crease and he and Will Kidner took the score beyond 50 before Kidner was dismissed by Joss Brannigan for 38 from 30 balls.
Tyler Murphy then went cheaply to leave Swardeston on 56-3 and when Beth Harmer was dismissed the score was 74-4 with eight overs remaining. This brought 15-year-old Elliot Fox to the crease to join Cooper who went into top gear, hitting regular boundaries before having to retire on 52 as per competition rules with the score on 110 and three overs remaining.
Some tight bowling from Everett and Marrable left Swardeston requiring five to win off the final over, with five wickets in hand. Everett was the bowler and four runs came off the first five deliveries which left the Sharks needing one to win, with Fox on strike. With a tie meaning a super over, a full delivery was produced and Fox managed to drive the ball past a diving mid-off to secure victory, with the youngster finishing 20 not out.
The Spartans have now been runners-up two years in a row, after losing to the Fakenham Falcons in 2017, while the Sharks followed up their 2015 win.
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Cooper was awarded man-of-the-match by Kevin Denmark of the Norfolk Cricket Board. He also collected batter of the tournament for scoring most runs in the competition.