Captain Paul Swannell in confident mood as reigning Division One champions Godmanchester go into a crucial run of Tucker Gardner League games.

Godmanchester captain Paul Swannell. Picture: HELEN DRAKE

Godmanchester captain Paul Swannell. Picture: HELEN DRAKE - Credit: Archant

Reigning champions Godmanchester will go into a crucial run of Tucker Gardner League Division One fixtures on a high.

Paul Swannell’s side have ignited their title defence with two impressive victories in recent days – a run of form they’ll attempt to continue when facing three of the current top four teams in the standings on the next three weekends.

They successfully chased down 239 to triumph at Burwell 2nds on Bank Holiday Monday, before slamming an Eaton Socon side featuring their championship-winning captain, Matt Pateman, last Saturday.

Swannell top-scored with 60 as his side piled up 258-8 before skittling their hosts for just 100 with Russel Withey taking the prized scalp of Eaton Socon run-machine Jonny Carpenter early on. Simon Rose did most of the damage with the ball thanks to a 4-14 haul which included the wicket of Pateman.

Swannell said: “We got a bit of a thumping against Wisbech recently when we were all out for 90. To respond to a result like that with two wins – achieved by chasing down 240-odd and putting close to 260 on the board – is very pleasing.

“It was our most complete performance so far against Eaton Socon and probably no coincidence that we were able to field our strongest team of the season to date.

“We’ve had guys really stepping up with bat and ball, and there is no reason why we can’t have a big push to defend our title. If we can come through the tough run of upcoming games, we’ll be in a strong position as our availability will only improve from July onwards.”

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Godmanchester now sit fifth in an ultra-tight division where the top eight teams are covered by just 24 points with just over a third of the campaign completed. They host third-placed Nassington this Saturday before going to Foxton, who are currently fourth, the following weekend. They then meet table-toppers Ramsey in their final fixture of the month on June 25.

Ramsey remain in pole position despite slipping to a 132-run defeat against Saffron Walden last Saturday.

Michael Cafferkey’s men collapsed to 146 all out at Cricketfield Lane in pursuit of a hefty target of 278-5 from a visiting side inspired by centurion Giles Ecclestone, whose 120 was clubbed off just 88 balls.

Only Ollie Stevens (35) and Elliot Cafferkey (34) made any real inroads as Ramsey saw their advantage in the standings slashed to just four points over Saffron Walden.

Struggling Waresley saw off another set of title hopefuls as they triumphed at Nassington by one wicket and with one ball to spare.

Captain Jake Allcock (29no) cracked the decisive runs as his side crept past the hosts’ posting of 150 in dramatic style.

Chetan Chauhan (3-19) and Thomas Baker (3-20) both impressed with the ball for Waresley before Ian Donald top-scored with the bat, compiling a patient 53 off 119 balls.