Final frustration will give way to celebrations at Swardeston

All was looking so good for Swardeston at the halfway stage, after an excellent bowling innings, but

All was looking so good for Swardeston at the halfway stage, after an excellent bowling innings, but they couldn't finish the job. Picture: Kevin Denmark - Credit: Archant

The disappointment of Swardeston's loss on the big stage will soon give way to the reality of a fantastic season, batsman Lewis Denmark believes.

Defeat to South Northumberland in the Royal London Club Championship final left the Norfolk representatives looking crestfallen at the County Ground in Northampton.

The south Norfolk villagers had teed up victory with a superb bowling display, dismissing their opponents for 159, with 19-year-old Matt Taylor in sparkling form to take four for 28.

However a poor batting display saw the East Anglian Premier League's dominant side slide to an all-out total of just 84, with Denmark offering the only real hope with a knock of 34.

The Swardeston players were clearly frustrated with themselves after the match but having won the EAPL for a fifth consecutive season, as well as the Natwest Club T20 national competition and the Bob Carter Cup locally, Denmark is sure that cloud will lift.

'In a couple of weeks times we'll sit down and reflect on what a great achievement it has been for the club this year,' the Norfolk batsman, pictured inset, said.

'We all do realise what a great effort it has been, particularly to win the T20, to win the league five years in a row, to win the Carter Cup and to finish runners-up in this and in our local T20, we should be very proud of our efforts.

'We've been fabulous as a side this year, we really enjoy each others' company, the support we've had from the committee, the support from our supporters – so it was a bit frustrating that we couldn't get it done for those guys and the team.

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'I'm sure in a couple of weeks we'll celebrate but right now we're hurting inside and it will take a little bit to come back from.'

Matt Taylor's excellent form with the ball was joined by Michael Eccles, who took three for 26, but the opening four batsman faced just 29 balls and scored only 13 runs.

'Fair play to South Northumberland, with the ball we were fabulous so take nothing away from the bowlers, they were outstanding and set it up perfectly,' Denmark continued.

'As batters we probably didn't apply ourselves as well as we might have liked early on, early wickets probably cost us but that's what happens in cricket and fair play to them they took their chances.

'They kept coming hard at us and were thoroughly deserved winners in the end.'

South North skipper Marcus North was the star name on display – having been capped 21 times by Australia, including in two Ashes series – and put in the best performance with the bat for his side.

The 37-year-old pieced together a 52-ball knock of 41 before being caught by Jordan Taylor off the bowling of Swardeston skipper Mark Thomas.

'This is the great thing about playing in this competition, we've said it all along that we love playing in these national competitions because you get to play against new sides that you haven't played against before,' Denmark added.

'A couple of our players had played against quite a few of them at Minor Counties, albeit it quite a while ago. But to play against Marcus North, what a great wicket, what a great scalp it is to have under your belt, Mark (Thomas) was fabulous and got him out but he'll still be hurting.

'He was not out at the end and he'll be very frustrated because he really wanted to win.

'I don't want to say the players let the team down but in a way the batters have let the rest of the team down.'

North, who took two slip catches near the end of the game, was thrilled with his side's comeback.

'It is a pretty special win,' he said. 'I thought we were a little bit short with the bat on what was a pretty good wicket but we knew if we could scrape up to that 150-mark, it might be a difficult chase.

'But the bowlers have been fantastic throughout this competition and they came out focused and disciplined. They've been together for a number of years now, they're mature and they've played in a lot of finals. You can't buy that and when things go as they did, it is a very easy side to captain.'

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