Quebec captain Ray Carman has paid tribute to Swardeston’s “breathtaking” fitness levels after the Norwich pub team’s giantkilling cup run was ended in emphatic fashion.
One of the few remaining pub teams to be found in league action in Norfolk was brought down to earth after their gravity-defying exploits in the Mid Norfolk Sunday League Challenge Cup were ended by a 165-run defeat in Monday’s final.
Quebec skipper Carman said “I thought we fielded well but Swardeston’s fitness levels were frankly breathtaking. So many balls that looked certain boundaries were chased down and reduced to a scrambled run or two”.
After the match at Sprowston CC’s Barkers Lane ground, league chairman Colin King said: “We all love the underdog and today Quebec were certainly that. They have done brilliantly in this competition and earned the right to be here today with honour. Sadly for them, it was not a day for the underdog. I would like to praise Swardeston for the spirit in which the game was played. They did what they always do and that is play their regular Sunday League side. The temptation must have been there to bring in one or two of their EAPL Saturday stars. I’m not surprised that they resisted this. It’s a measure of the integrity of Swardeston.”
Division Three side Quebec won the toss and put the Premier division title-chasers in to bat on a rapidly-drying pitch. Their best chance was to take some early wickets but the Swardeston openers weathered the opening attack and had amassed 85 by the fall of the first wicket.
Another wicket quickly fell before man of the match Ben Shearing (69) took command and steered Swardeston towards a respectable total.
At 30 overs, they had reached 154 but the final 10 overs saw Swardeston amass another 95 runs to reach 249 for 7.
Quebec’s top order batsmen tried to play themselves in before launching their assault on the Swardeston total. The bowling, however, was formidable and wickets started to fall with regularity. The fielding was also of the highest class and must have saved at least 50 runs. Carman (13) dug deep and steadied the ship but wickets were falling at the other end. Eventually Jo Walsh (29) joined his skipper and produced the brightest part of the Quebec innings, bludgeoning the Swardeston bowlers to all points of the ground. His innings thrilled an estimated 500-plus crowd who were cheering every run. Walsh was last out and Quebec finished on 84 all out.
The pick of the Swardeston bowlers was Dale Reynolds (3 for 19).
Star of Quebec’s amazing giant-killing cup run, Ash Choudray, who travels up from London to play every game for the north city based outfit, said “Swardeston were just too professional for us. I had hoped for an opening stand that we could have built upon. Sadly that wasn’t to be.”
You can view the scorecard here.
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