Things can only get better for Norwich

Norwich skipper Paul Wiseman has refused to label this weekend's crunch clash with Halstead as a must win game, but accepts his side will soon have to shrug off their poor start to the season.

Wiseman's team are currently bottom of the East Anglian Premier League table, without a win from their first six games, but this weekend they take on the team just six points above them, at Ingham.

The captain said: 'It's not quite a must win game just yet, but of course it would be handy to beat them and we'll be going out there trying to do that.

'It's a very important game, but there's also a long way to go this year.'

While Norwich have drawn two games and two of their defeats have been by narrow margins, Wiseman is not willing to use a lack of fortune as an excuse: 'We've had six games so far and we haven't won any of them, so I don't think we can say we've been unlucky,' he said. 'We lost the toss in the games against Bury and Clacton and ended up having 12 overs less to bat than they did which did not help. Against Burwell we were competitive, but we've been stuffed twice and against Sudbury last weekend it was just poor batting. It was a good track and we should have got 200 plus instead of 124 all out.


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'The batters are making some wrong decisions at the moment and they are playing Twenty20 cricket rather than setting themselves up for a big innings. They've been going out and hitting a few boundaries and then getting out, so we need to show more application. It's something we've talked about but at the moment it isn't sinking in.'

Opening bowler Wiseman is also acutely aware that Norwich's seam attack have struggled to make an impression on dry wickets: 'I looked at the averages this week and in the six games so far our seamers have taken 13 wickets, while two of our spinners have taken 27 between them,' he said.

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Norwich will welcome back overseas player Erik Laubscher tomorrow after he missed last weekend's defeat through illness and their ranks will also be boosted by the return from university of Felix Flower later this month. Wiseman remains confident that his side can pull clear of relegation danger: 'We've already played a few sides that I think we can finish above at the end of the season,' he said. 'This is basically the same team which struggled last year, but which finished second the year before and was successful in the cup competitions. We have a different overseas player and we've lost Ben Patston, but it's the same base of players in the team.'

Norwich can take heart from their record against Halstead. In the three completed games since the Essex side came into the EAPL, Norwich have won all of them in convincing fashion, while in the abandoned match last season, Halstead were 74 for six when the rain came.

Elsewhere tomorrow, leaders Great Witchingham travel to Clacton, while the team they replaced at the top last weekend, Vauxhall Mallards, are at home to Burwell.

Swardeston, in fourth, are away at Cambridge Granta and third-placed Horsford defend their 100pc home record this season against Bury St Edmunds.

In the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division, Fakenham take their 100pc record from their first five games to North Runcton, while second-placed Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers travel to Diss. Division One leaders Acle take on Norwich A at Postwick.

In Norfolk League Division One, Rollesby and Great Yarmouth have already broken away from the pack by winning their first five matches.

Leaders Rollesby are at home to Ketteringham Hall tomorrow, while Yarmouth travel to East Harling.

It is much more congested at the top of West Norfolk League Division One, with the top five separated by just four points.

Snettisham have their noses in front at the moment, but they are without a game this weekend so the teams directly below them, Bircham and Hayley East Anglia, will be eyeing top spot when they play each other tomorrow.

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