Mallards bounce back in the league before making progress in cup competition

Ben France struck an important blow for Vauxhall Mallards. Picture: Tim Ferley

Ben France struck an important blow for Vauxhall Mallards. Picture: Tim Ferley - Credit: Archant

Vauxhall Mallards had two fixtures at the weekend, one in the East Anglian Premier League and the other in the NACO Cup quarter-finals, and they won them both.

The league game was the first of the season to revert back to the long format of the EAPL, with 120 overs being played.

Mallards needed a positive result after falling short against Horsford the previous weekend.

On a hot day at Ingham Norwich won the toss and elected to bat first. They opened strongly against Paul Bradshaw and Adam Todd but Ben France came on and dismissed Oli Higenbottom for 41 and their progress slowed.

Norwich were 63 for 2 at the drinks break and straight after the restart Luke Caswell took the wicket of Will O’Donnell to give Mallards a good advantage. Norwich captain Ashley Watson kept the home side in the game but he was caught deep in the field by Adam Todd off Caswell for 37 and Norwich were dismissed for 154.

In reply Mallards batted steadily and despite losing five wickets got home with something to spare, with Matthew Plater making 52 and Mitchell Todd 43 not out.

Sunday’s fixture against Alliance Premier side North Runcton saw Mallards bat first having won the toss. After five overs they were three down for 24 but Harry Barker steadied the ship, Batting at three he came in in the first over and was out in the 42nd for 70. His partnership of 105 with Hudson de Lucchi, who made 54, meant Mallards had something to defend.

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North Runcton made a determined reply to a total of 199. Dean Robinson and Nick Freeman got them to 83 off 24 overs before Caswell made the breakthrough to get the wicket of Freeman for 38, caught in the deep by Sam Tinkler.

A number of dropped catches put pressure on the bowlers to restrict the runs as well as get wickets.

Another turning point came when de Lucchi took a stunning running catch off Ali Shearer’s bowling to remove Robinson for 58. As North Runcton edged closer to reaching their target Mallards captain Shearer made quick changes, with all six of his bowlers delivering overs in the last 14. They got five wickets and a run out, enough to get Runcton nine men down and also to restrict the batsmen so that the game finished with Mallards winners by eight runs.