Lambert eyeing TV repeat

The hero of Swardeston's national Twenty20 success last season is hoping to put his team on track for a repeat performance this year when they face Horsford in the Norfolk Twenty20 Cup final tonight.

Peter Lambert shot to prominence at Hampshire's Rose Bowl last September as he hit 72 in the Sky-televised national final to help earn Swardeston the prize of a holiday to Barbados.

Now Swardeston are back in the Norfolk final, with the winners progressing to an East Anglian Premier League finals day, ahead of the national stages of the competition.

Lambert, 21, said: 'The whole experience last year was just phenomenal and that all started with winning the Norfolk final. It's the same this year – we need to win this game if we are going to have a chance of doing it all again.'

The Norfolk batsman is confident Swardeston are capable of reaching the national finals – at Chelmsford on September 19 – once more, even though there are still three stages to get through after tonight.


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'Our team is well suited to Twenty20 and if one person fails there are plenty of others who can step up either in the batting or the bowling,' he said. 'We've done it before and our team hasn't changed so we've got that experience now. You sometimes need a bit of luck in Twenty20 – a dropped catch or the ball just reaching the boundary – and you never know what's going to happen, so we just need to apply ourselves and play as we know we can.

'It's a long way to get to the national finals so you just need to take it a game at a time, that's how we did it last year.'

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Lambert, pictured, believes the Rose Bowl experience has helped him develop as a player and he added: 'I've watched it back a couple of times – well more than a couple really – and it just makes you think about being there and the pressure we were under – we were representing Norfolk as well so that was additional pressure.

'You don't get to play at places like the Rose Bowl very often and it was interesting to play against different players – in the league you're up against mostly the same players but when you're looking at opponents for the first time it is very different and I found that experience useful.'

When interviewed after the Rose Bowl final by Sky Sports commentator and former England fast bowler Bob Willis, Lambert admitted to having aspirations of playing first class cricket. Having recently completed his university studies, he still retains that ambition: 'I've played a few games for Unicorns A with Chris Brown but unfortunately I've only had one decent innings, when I got 29 against Middlesex II,' he said. 'Apart from that I've not really shown what I can do. I've just got to keep playing well for Swardeston and Norfolk and see what happens. It doesn't get much better than earning a living from something you really enjoy so if I ever got that chance I would try to grab it with both hands.'

Lambert was part of the Norfolk side heavily beaten at Hertfordshire this week, making 40 in the second innings as the visitors tried to save the game, before falling to a disputed bat-pad catch: 'With cricket you do get some bad ones, but at that stage of the game it made it more frustrating,' he said. 'I had got myself in and I was feeling really solid, so when the umpire gives you out when you've missed it by a couple of inches it is frustrating.

'We were trying to bat 10 overs at a time and that really helped me. I've never played in that situation before where you need to try and block out for a whole day, so again it was a new experience to add to my armoury. I felt quite confident of doing it, but unfortunately we were too far under the cosh after being all out for 140 in the first innings.'

Lambert also plays football for Gorleston and although the Greens face Norwich City tomorrow, he will be fully focused on helping Swardeston stay top of the EAPL at Bury St Edmunds: 'I've been to one or two pre-season training sessions, but it is the cricket season,' he said. 'I've always said that if I'm playing for Swardeston or Gorleston and they have a chance of winning something, then I'll stick with the sport that I'm playing.'

• Tonight's NW Brown Financial Services Norfolk Twenty20 Cup final at Manor Park, Horsford, starts at 6pm, with admission �2.

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