Witches up for test

Paddy DavittGIBBS DENLEY EAPL PREVIEW: Great Witchingham skipper James Spelman is taking nothing for granted despite his side's eye-catching EAPL opening day win against champions Vauxhall Mallards.Paddy Davitt

Great Witchingham skipper James Spelman is taking nothing for granted despite his side's eye-catching EAPL opening day win against champions Vauxhall Mallards.

Spelman (pictured) inspired his men to a crushing 132 run victory with career-best EAPL bowling figures of 6-29 and 76 at the top of the order alongside county captain Carl Rogers.

The 26-year-old predicts tomorrow's latest trip to last season's runners-up Norwich will be equally demanding despite the Witches' impressive start to the new campaign.

"It had been such a tough winter for the club in general, just to get the ground ready, and the reward was beating Mallards," said Spelman.

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"If anything it makes Norwich an even a harder game because people might sit up and take notice a little bit more. We're away from home and they beat us comfortably at Ingham last time. If we could build on last week and get back-to-back wins that would be an unreal start. We haven't had our overseas players come in yet and you never know how they will adapt but the initial goal is just to build on last year. We finished eighth so a top half finish would be something to build on again. We certainly won't be getting carried away on the basis of one win."

Spelman conceded claiming the scalp of his former club was extra special.

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"It was a dream start for me on a personal level against not just the reigning champions but my old team," he said.

"We'd played them six or seven times before when I've been involved and almost had them a couple of times. To win the way we did and beat them by a hundred plus runs was the icing on the cake.

"You get days like that. We lost the toss and we got put in, but myself and Carl got us off to a good start which as a team we do tend to rely on. Sam Arthurton, who has looked really good, posted 60 odd and then for Simon Chipperfield to come in and strike 45 odd off 25 or so balls took the game away from them. The ball was going in the trees for the last few overs and it makes it a hard run chase. We had a little bit of luck but I felt we deserved it because it was just a good all round performance."

Capped by spinner Spelman's prowess with the ball in Mallards' reply.

"I brought myself and Carl on fairly early and they never really got any momentum but I managed to get their overseas player and picked up two more in three balls," he said.

"I got a 'five for' in my last EAPL fixture but I would have swapped six wickets for a hundred against them - I would have even taken nought I guess. I would class myself as a batting all rounder in the league but for the county I don't really bowl that much. Everything I tried seemed to come off when on another day they might be full tosses or long hops.

"I'd like to chip in with a few more wickets. Normally I'd only have seven or eight halfway through the season. Last year we struggled to bowl sides out but we managed to do it against Mallards with 14 or 15 overs to spare."

The champions look to bounce back against Burwell this weekend. Horsford travel to Essex to face Halstead with Swardeston at Saffron Walden and Fakenham at Bury St Edmunds.

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