Swardeston aim for unique national double cup triumph

The Swardeston squad which won the 2016 East Anglian Premier League. Picture: Kevin Denmark

The Swardeston squad which won the 2016 East Anglian Premier League. Picture: Kevin Denmark - Credit: Kevin Denmark

The final countdown has started, as all connected to Swardeston prepare for the biggest match in their club's history.

The south Norfolk villagers head to Wantage Road tomorrow, the home of Northamptonshire CCC, for the Royal London Club Championship final.

They have already lifted three trophies this season but have their sights set on completing the quadruple – including a unique achievement.

Locally, the East Anglian Premier League title was won for a fifth year in succession and the Bob Carter Cup was also added to the trophy haul, but there has also already been national success.

Earlier this month Swardeston won the Natwest Club Twenty20, beating Sandiacre Town at Derbyshire CCC. They became just the third club to win that competition twice, which started in 2008, and could now become the first to complete the national club double.

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South Northumberland are the opponents, the team who Swardeston beat at the Rose Bowl in the Club T20 in 2010.

'We just had our normal nets on Wednesday and that was it,' skipper Mark Thomas said of his team's preparations. 'Having won the T20, I think we go into this reasonably confident.

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'Northumberland will probably have more players than us left from 2010, so are probably older than us, which can work both ways, because hopefully they'll be slower in the field.

'Their two opening bowlers and their captain are still playing, and Marcus North used to play Test cricket for Australia so he is obviously going to be a good player.

'We'll make no special game-plans though, we'll keep doing what's got us this far and make sure we get the simple things right.'

The team will travel down today, for an ECB dinner this evening. Ahead of the Club T20 the Swardeston squad were able to enjoy a Q&A with England bowler Jimmy Anderson and tonight former England player and selector Geoff Miller will be the special guest.

'The T20 was a lot of fun, playing under the lights at a proper ground,' Thomas added.

'The ECB put on a good night before, with a meal and everything, so it's one of those things that you need to sit back and enjoy.'

The EAPL champions are also hoping to have a good following cheering them on at the County Ground tomorrow, with play starting at 11am and free entry. The 45-over match will be settled on a bowl-out if weather conditions are disruptive.

'I think there's a fair few going, I don't know exactly but our sponsor (Leathes Prior) has put on a coach which is leaving from Tombland on Sunday morning,' the Swardeston skipper continued.

'On top of that a load of people are driving up so I think we'll have reasonably good support, not only from Swardeston but from all over Norfolk.'

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