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High-flying Witches have more to give - Spelman

PUBLISHED: 12:05 10 June 2011

New Zealander Ryan McCone has taken 25 EAPL wickets for Witchingham and is the current league leading wicket-taker. Carl Rogers leads the batting with 495 runs at 82.5.

New Zealander Ryan McCone has taken 25 EAPL wickets for Witchingham and is the current league leading wicket-taker. Carl Rogers leads the batting with 495 runs at 82.5.

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Witchingham skipper James Spelman has played down talk of a maiden East Anglian Premier League title success insisting: "We are just taking one game at a time."

A stunning start has seen the Witches storm to the head of affairs after seven games unbeaten, but Spelman is wary of the dreaded mid-season dip that has seen the team lose momentum after promising starts in his previous two years at the helm.

“We are just taking one game at a time. Over the last couple of years we have had dips in the middle,” he said.

“It’s about focusing on each game and concentrating on our performances. So far we have beaten Vauxhall Mallards and Cambridge Granta back to back for 30-point wins proving that we can potentially win the league if we maintain our form.”

Delighted as they are, the Walcis Park-based outfit’s players feel the best is yet to come.

“We still feel we are not playing as well as we can. We feel there is room for improvement and there are certain areas where we have not played at 100 per cent yet.”

The left-handed opener, who put on 200 with Norfolk colleague Carl Rogers for the first wicket at Clacton on Saturday, added:

“It is my third year as captain. Last year I believe we were top after five or six games, then we had a five-week period where we really struggled and it was the same with the season before. So we are really wary of the complacency kicking in, even if at the moment we are riding a bit of a high.”

Over the next two weeks Witchingham are set to face the sides currently propping up the league starting this Saturday with Halstead, convincing victors over Norwich – the team Witchingham face the following week.

But Spelman insists that no game will be taken as a given in a “league where anyone can beat anyone”.

He added: “Years ago when I was at Vauxhall Mallards one team used to dominate.

“This year is very open, there is no stand-out team and I feel we have as good a chance as anyone.”

As to the reasons for the success which has seen Witchingham clock up five wins and two draws to emerge as the only unbeaten side, you only have to look at the EAPL averages.

“The batting has really fired. Carl Rogers seems to get better every year and has got almost 500 runs already. Sam Arthurton has had a really good start and got his first league hundred against Sudbury in a big run chase, while I have done reasonably well. Shaun Arthurton has had a good start, batting down the order.”

Overseas signing Ryan McCone, who has played first class cricket in Canterbury, New Zealand, has quickly made his mark.

“He has taken 25 wickets already and when you consider that we have been playing on dry wickets that have been batting-friendly, it’s been an achievement,” said Spelman, who played a key role in bringing the left-arm paceman to the club.

Left-arm spinner James Hale, 18, has also grabbed the spotlight, following up his five-wicket haul against Saffron Walden with a six- for against Clacton on Saturday.

“He is a really promising young cricketer,” said Spelman, “and there are other players who have got more to give as well.”

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