Norwich hoping for top-half finish after making East Anglian Premier League return

Norwich captain Chris Borrett bowling for Norwich against Woolpit in the 2013 East Anglian Premier play-off. Picture: Gregg Brown Norwich captain Chris Borrett bowling for Norwich against Woolpit in the 2013 East Anglian Premier play-off. Picture: Gregg Brown

Friday, May 2, 2014
6:30 AM

Norwich Cricket Club are set to have their East Anglian Premier League credentials put under the spotlight by reigning champions Swardeston tomorrow.

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Captain Chris Borrett feels Norwich are already proving they can hold their own in their return to the EAPL though and is looking forward to the “challenge”.

Norwich are third in the EAPL table after this season’s first two matches.

They took maximum points at Vauxhall Mallards on the opening day, winning by 70 runs after batting first and setting a total of 264 from 57 overs, with Sanjay Mishra hitting 135 from 162 balls.

That 30-point haul was added to by 17 points last Saturday, after a home draw against Woolpit.

Norwich were put into bat and saw opener Oliver Higenbottam top-score with 52 in a total of 257 from 57.5 overs. Woolpit then hung on to bat through to the finish, ending on 198 for eight wickets, from 59 overs.

Swardeston meanwhile, on the hunt for a third successive EAPL title, have won both their matches after batting second to take 25 points from both their matches so far.

On the opening day they won by two wickets at home against Copdock & Old Ipswichian, before winning by eight wickets at Bury St Edmunds last weekend.

“You always expect a tough game at Swardeston,” Borrett said. “They are a well established EAPL team who have proved themselves to be very successful

“They have some very good players and we are looking forward to the challenge. Probably the best thing to say is that we think we can give them a good game.”

Norwich were relegated from the EAPL in 2011, having finished second in the table in 2009. They won the EAPL title in 2000 and 2001 but found themselves having to rebuild in the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division.

After finishing top of the Premier table in both 2012 and 2013, promotion was secured and EAPL cricket has now returned to Postwick.

Borrett continued: “We’ve got almost exactly the same squad as last year, no one has left and the only person to have joined is our New Zealander overseas player (opening bowler) Fred Klarssen, but he has an EU passport, a Dutch passport.

“Our overseas player Dominic Matarazzo (top-order batsman) is still here and Ashley Watson is back from his tour of Afghanistan with the RAF, which meant he didn’t play last season, and he is a county all-rounder so it’s really important to have him back.

“Our strengths are that we bat most of the way down the order. Our number 11 the last couple of weeks has been Aaron Watson, who was opening batsman in a few games last year so he can certainly hold a bat.

“So right through the order we have several options and the same with the bowling, I have not had to bowl at all yet this season.

“We have quite a good spread of players, which enables me as captain plenty of options.”

Borrett, fresh from captaining North Walsham Rugby Club to Woodforde’s Norfolk Senior Cup success at Scottow last Sunday, beating Diss 48-3, is not getting too carried away with his side’s start.

However he is hopeful that Norwich will firmly establish themselves as an EAPL force again, adding: “My aim this year, especially as there is no relegation with Clacton dropping out of the league, is to go out and try to win every game and see where we end up in the league.

“We want to challenge certainly in the top half, so we’ll see where we are at the end of the season, but certainly that is my objective.”

Tomorrow’s EAPL fixtures: Copdock & Old Ipswichian v Bury St Edmunds, Saffron Walden v Great Witchingham, Swardeston v Norwich, Vauxhall Mallards v Horsford, Woolpit v Cambridge Granta.

Have you got an interesting cricket story? Contact sports reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418, email david.freezer@archant.co.uk or tweet @davefreezer

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