Vauxhall Mallards beaten on a day veteran Goldsmith took centre stage

Long-serving Steve Goldsmith receives a guard of honour from his Vauxhall Mallards team-mates after

Long-serving Steve Goldsmith receives a guard of honour from his Vauxhall Mallards team-mates after coming out to bat for the club the final time at Halvergate on Saturday in the Norfolk Alliance match against Stow. Turn inside for a report. Picture: Alan Tinkler - Credit: Archant

Vauxhall Mallards were well beaten by Great Witchingham in Saturday’s EAPL derby match at Halvergate, with the Witches getting home by seven wickets after bowling them out for 183.

On what became a very warm Bank Holiday weekend it was a wet start early on Saturday morning and play began an hour late, with overs reduced to 46 per innings,

Great Witchingham won the toss and put Mallards in to bat.

Ben France and Mitchell Todd opened the batting and got Mallards off to a good start, selecting their shots well but also boosted by extras from Witchingham’s bowlers in the first 15 overs.

Mike Jones came on as first change for Witchingham and regained the advantage for the visitors by taking three wickets in two overs.

Todd was still at the wicket on 40 and steadied the innings in a stand of 49 with Hudson De Lucchi (24). Todd batted on with five more partners before he was out for a well-crafted 81.

Jones finished having taken five for 23 and Luke Schlemmer four for 30.

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Great Witchingham had to beat 183 runs which Sam Arthurton and James Spelman soon had in their sights.

At the drinks break they had put on 123 after 23 overs but a breakthrough came for Mallards at the restart. Mitchell Todd had kept wicket for the first half, with regular John Ewart unable to keep through injury, but Todd swapped the gloves and came on to bowl.

He took three wickets in quick succession including Spelman (56) and Arthurton (80) but Witchingham were comfortably in reach of the winning target which they achieved with plenty of overs to spare.

Mallards are away to Bury St Edmunds tomorrow (11am).

While the first XI played on the main pitch there was a significant and poignant game taking place on the second pitch at Halvergate where Steve Goldsmith was playing in his last match for Vauxhall Mallards.

He captained the second XI in their match against Stow, opening the batting and making 84, including 18 boundaries. In a tribute to his years of dedication to the club, his encouragement to players and to the game of cricket he was given a ‘cricket bat’ guard of honour by the players on to the field and a standing ovation at the close of play.