Swardeston set up Carter Cup final rematch with Norwich in high-scoring semi-final
- Credit: Archant
Swardeston will face Norwich in the final of the Bob Carter Cup for the second season in succession following a 38-run semi-final victory over Great Witchingham.
An excellent game of cricket saw 584 runs scored on a scorching hot day at The Common in front of a good crowd, with centuries scored by three different players.
Both sides were weakened by their players being selected for Norfolk's match against Buckinghamshire, with Witchingham missing Sam Arthurton, James Spelman and Sam Groves, and the hosts without Jordan Taylor and Lewis Denmark.
Stand-in Witches skipper Jimmy Hales won the toss and asked Swardeston to bat first. He must have thought it was a good decision when Phil King removed Freddie Ruffell for a golden duck and then trapped Stephen Gray lbw two balls later.
When Andy Hanby clean bowled the dangerous Peter Lambert in the third over Swardeston were 12 for three, however this brought Joe Gatting and Jason Reynolds together and they started to repair the early damage, putting on 102 before Gatting was dropped at slip when on 58 with the score on 114.
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The former Sussex and Hampshire batsman was again dropped on 80 but by this time was in full swing and building a big partnership with Reynolds.
Both players went on to notch centuries with the impressive Reynolds making 107 before he was out caught by McDonald off the bowling of skipper Hale.
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The score was on 280 and the fourth-wicket partnership had added a game-changing 268. There were still nearly 15 overs to go and a massive score looked to be on the cards.
Things changed quickly as four runs later Hanby took the wicket of Gatting, who made 148 including 12 fours and nine sixes. The innings then fell apart with the Witches taking the last five wickets for the addition of just 27 runs. Hale ended with 5-54 and Hanby 3-60.
The Witchingham reply in pursuit of 312 to win started steadily with Hale and Ben Briggs putting on 19 before Briggs was caught by Matt Taylor off the bowling of Sam Thelwell for eight.
He was followed back to the pavilion by Shaun Arthurton and Jonathan Spelman and Witchingham were struggling on 62 for three.
The score was on 73 when Hale fell to Matt Taylor for 44. An excellent partnership of 108 between Brenton McDonald and Thomas Kuggleleijn (51) in good time raised hopes for the Witches.
After Kuggleleijn departed McDonald started to really take on the Swardeston attack and went onto to make a superb 120 containing 18 fours.
When McDonald departed to a good catch by home skipper Mark Thomas, off the bowling of Michael Eccles, that was the realistic end to any hopes Witchingham had of overhauling the Swardeston score.
They were all out for 273 after a spirited run chase, man of the match Gatting ending with 4-32 and Taylor also had three wickets.
That sets up an opportunity for Swardeston to avenge last year's 45-run final defeat to Norwich.
Last year's final clashed with the reigning East Anglian Premier League champions' National Club Championship quarter-final at Blackheath, leaving them to field a second XI against Norwich.
• Garboldisham will face Bradfield in the final of the Lady Mary Trophy.
Bradfield hosted Dersingham in their semi-final on Sunday, batting first and being dismissed for 199, with Alex Robinson scoring 55 and Jamie Cook taking 5-28 for the visitors. Dersingham were then dismissed for 134, falling 65 runs short of their target.
Lowestoft were unable to raise a team for the other semi-final, allowing Garboldisham to progress straight to the final.