Team guide: Norfolk’s five clubs prepare for battle in the East Anglian Premier Cricket League

Essex CCC prospect and former England U19 international Callum Taylor has re-signed for Swardeston.

Essex CCC prospect and former England U19 international Callum Taylor has re-signed for Swardeston. Picture: ICC - Credit: ICC

Battle resumes in the East Anglian Premier League tomorrow, with champions Swardeston hosting Norfolk rivals on the opening day.

Great Witchingham travel to Bury St Edmunds, Norwich go to Frinton-on-Sea and Vauxhall Mallards travel to new boys Mildenhall.

Ahead of the first ball of the EAPL season being bowled, we take at a look at how our local clubs are shaping up for the new campaign.

Great Witchingham

Captain: Sam Arthurton


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New players: Will Rogers (returning from Norwich), Mike Jones (director of cricket and vice-captain, signed from Brooke), overseas player potentially still to arrive

Captain's thoughts: 'I took over the captaincy job halfway through last year and enjoyed it but it's good to have someone with a bit more experience in Mike who I can turn to in the field.

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'He's going to be a good addition, he's played a lot of cricket at a good standard and gives us good depth in the middle order because he can bowl a bit as well.

'It's a tricky one because at the start of the season you need to take it a game at a time. Last year was disappointing and now we need to get back to playing the cricket we did a few years ago. We need a bit more consistency because it took ages for us to get our first win last year.

'So if we can get back to playing good cricket, we can go from there.'

Horsford

Captain: Ryan Findley

New players: Jonathan Crowe (Australian opening batsman), Luke Findley (opening batsman signed from Fakenham), Tom Nudd (left-arm seamer signed from Brooke), Nathan Thurston (seam bowler signed from Fakenham), Jack Timmins (re-signed seam bowler)

Captain's thoughts: 'We struggled last season, we didn't win a game in the first half of the season. We did well in the end and showed some great character and resilience.

'With our second team winning promotion to the Alliance Premier it turned into a successful season for the club. We've now got two teams in the top two tiers of local cricket and we had an inter-team game with 22 players who had all played EAPL cricket, so we have lots of depth, and lots of good youngsters coming through.

'So we're hoping for a good start because we beat some good teams in the second half of last year, Swardeston away, Frinton away and Sudbury.'

Norwich

Captain: Ashley Watson

New players: Will O'Donnell (New Zealander returning as overseas)

Captain's thoughts: 'There's no new players but we've got Will O'Donnell back as our overseas and Will Rogers has gone back to Witchingham. Will got 750 runs last year so he's a good player for us.

'We would like to be in the same situation as last year really and be in the top four again pushing for top spot but Swardeston have got a very strong side especially and have still got Joe Gatting. So it's a tough one but we'll look to challenge with those top teams.

'We all need to perform on the day, I don't want it to be left to the same two or three players to perform every game, we all need to win a game individually at some point.'

O'Donnell scored 847 runs in total for Norwich last year, 674 of which came in the EAPL,

Swardeston

Captain: Mark Thomas

New players: Callum Taylor (re-signed from Bury)

Captain's thoughts: 'Callum enjoyed playing for Swardeston before and realised that so he's come back, which is great for the club. How much he will actually be available I don't know as hopefully he'll make the breakthrough with Essex.

'We've got to keep our consistency and play our game rather than worry about anyone else, keep things simple. A lot of players in our team are still young and still improving but we can't be complacent either because I think it's going to be a lot harder this year.

'We were lucky enough to win a national cup last year (Natwest Club T20) and we were disappointed to lose in the final of the other (Royal London Club Championship). It's tough though because you have to play somebody from the EAPL in the early rounds, which is one of the better leagues, so if we can get through those then hopefully we can do well again.'

Vauxhall Mallards

Captain: Ali Shearer

New player: Ben France (Norfolk all-rounder joins from Horsford)

Captain's thoughts: 'Ben France coming in, with Mitchell Todd returning as our overseas, are the only notable first team incomings really. When I heard that Ben might be available I definitely wanted us to go after him because he was one of the top bowlers in the league last year and when I first met him he was an opening batsman so he's a quality signing.

'As we say every year, the aim is to win it. When I came in as captain in November I said we need to be back at the top and seen to be winning stuff, not just in the cups.

'The rule changes might suit us slightly with 50-over games but I'm sure more teams will say that, so we're definitely in it to win it.'

Shearer will miss tomorrow's trip to Mildenhall as he is running the London Marathon, hoping to raise £2,500 for Children with Cancer UK. Sponsor him at justgiving.com/AliShearer

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