Swardeston switch leaves fans spolit for choice

Norfolk cricket fans will have to make a tough decision next month when no fewer than FOUR blue ribband events take part on the same day.

Swardeston have agreed to switch their home ECB Cockspur Cup national knockout quarter-final against Waltham from Sunday, August 4, at the request of their opponents, whose team is exclusively Pakistani in origin and wished to avoid a clash with Ramadan.

But the new date, Sunday, August 11, means a direct clash with not only the Carter Cup final between Vauxhall Mallards and Great Witchingham but also Cromer's prestige hosting of the star-studded Lashings side and Horsford's participation in the South East finals day of the national T20 competition in Essex.

The only consolation for 'floating' fans who might find it hard to choose between The Common, Manor Park and the Norton Warnes ground is that they now won't have to pick between Swardeston and Norfolk on Sunday, August 4 – which is the opening day of the final match in this year's Horsford Festival.

Swardeston, who are seeking to emulate their success in winning the national T20 crown in 2010, reached the last eight of their 45-overs competition with a three wickets win over Stanmore at The Common.

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After restricting the Middlesex side to 205, with Michael Eccles taking four for 42, Swardeston's reply was built around an unbeaten 89 from 90 balls by 16-year-old Callum Taylor, whose bold innings included ten fours and three sixes.

He dominated a seventh-wicket stand of 68 with George Walker (18) after Swardeston had slipped to 111-6 and then helped skipper Mark Thomas (13 not) complete the job with six overs to spare. Earlier, Stephen Gray had done most to establish the momentum with 29 from 30 balls.

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Waltham, who reached the semi-finals in 2008, should provide a fascinating spectacle in the next round.

Brothers Khawar Ali Kazmi (73) and Tauseef Kazmi (49) were the mainstays of their 19-runs win over Kent League leaders Hartley and they boast several individuals who have played first class cricket in Pakistan.

Despite a history of knock-out success since their formation in 1999, they only play on Sundays, having been unable to secure a place in the Essex League system – giving them extra incentive to prove their worth in national competitions.

Hopes of a repeat, all Alliance, Carter Cup final between Norwich and Sprowston were dashed when they were beaten by Mallards and Great Witichingham respectively.

Mallards made short work of the cup holders, bowling them out for 208 – Paul Bradshaw taking 3-18 and Rahul Dewan 4-47 – before taking less than half their allocation of overs to reach their target for the loss of only three wickets.

Dewan was again to the fore with 62 off 50 balls before Steve Goldsmith (63 not out off 45) and Alistair Shearer (34 not out off 20) finished the job.

The Witches, meanwhile, thrashed Sprowston by 114 runs after James Spelman (80), Tom Collishaw (73) and Sam Arthurton (63) led the way in their 320-5. Sprowston were bowled out for 206 despite 61 from Rob Purton and 48 from Matt Foster.

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