Swardeston beat Nantwich by 53 runs at Lord’s in National Club County Championship Final
- Credit: Archant
Swardeston Cricket Club win silverware at Lord's as they beat Nantwich by 53 runs with impressive cameos from youngster Alfie Cooper and Peter Lambert. Connor Southwell reports on proceedings from the Home of Cricket on a historic day for the Norfolk Club
Swardeston did Norfolk cricket proud at Lord's yesterday to claim an impressive 53 run win over Nantwich in the final of the Royal London Club Championship.
After being asked to bat first Joe Gatting's side performed well over 40 overs to set a daunting 281 as the initial target for victory and although it was subsequently reduced on the Duckworth Lewis Method after a break for rain they still won with plenty to spare as their Cheshire opponents were dismissed for 193.
Victory means Swardeston can now become the first club to win the 40 over and Twenty20 national titles in the same year, providing they can emerge as winners from their next challenge over the shorter format in Derby on Sunday.
Alfie Cooper in particular stole the show, recording 61 off 65 balls at the age of 19. For a local lad fulfilling his dreams at the Home of Cricket, it was a remarkable display of grit and technique, scoring boundaries at will by also responding to Gatting when he joined him at the crease.
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Gatting began with a more conservative approach to his batting, the captain looking to ensure his side recovered from a potential collapse after failing to build a partnership early on as Taylor brothers Jordan and Callum both went cheaply.
It took some impressive bowling by Mitchell Spencer and James Warrington to remove both Gatting for 49 and Cooper for 61.
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Peter Lambert then scored an impressive 60 to progress the Swardeston score before eventually being beaten all ends up by a Spencer delivery. It took only 37 balls for him to reach his total, contributing significantly to the score set for Nantwich to chase.
Warrington impressed with the ball for Nantwich throughout the Swardeston innings, boasting the match best figures of three wickets for 60.
Lambert's power hitting saw him subsequently named as man-of-the-match, hitting a number of boundaries prior to his dismissal. Redemption was the order of the day for Lambert, a member of the Swardeston side who were beaten in the final of this tournament three years previously, when he failed to score a run.
After the narrative from that year, to perform with the confidence he did showed composure, driving his side to a score which proved too steep for their opponents.
Both sides used the advantage of a short boundary, with the Norfolk side clearing the rope 10 times during their impressive batting display.
Matt Taylor's 11 from four balls helped elevate the score up to 280, leaving Nantwich to chase 281 to win the title.
Rain interfered with the Nantwich innings just as they had began to discover their rhythm after a poor start, with Luke Robinson and Ryan Brown featuring in a partnership of 86 before Robinson was caught at mid-wicket by Joe Gatting. Momentum was threatening to develop between the pair but the rain prevented them from reaching top gear.
After Brown departed through another fine piece of fielding by Lewis Denmark, the wickets fell at regular intervals.
Brown's dismissal would prove pivotal, swinging the pendulum back towards the Norfolk side with the required run rate increasing to over 10 runs an over.
There was a flurry of wickets that followed with four of Nantwich's batsman being removed in under 20 minutes, sealing the victory for Swardeston.
That said, the final partnership of Warrington and Phil Stockton put in a brave display to make the final wicket a difficult one to get. It was taken by Tom Oxley who bowled Warrington despite the No 11 pulling off some fine shots to put up a late fight against an impressive Swardeston attack.
Undoubtedly the stoppage during the Nantwich innings shifted the impetus from the Cheshire side to Swardeston but Gatting's men always looked in the driving seat and thoroughly deserved to come away with the silverware.
The wickets were shared around, with Richard Sims, Callum Taylor, Mark Thomas and Gatting all taking a couple.
Swardeston must now prepare for another big day in their history in the semi-finals on Club T20 Finals Day at Derby. Should they beat Cranleigh in the semi-finals they will meet either Sheffield Collegiate, the boyhood club of England Test captain Joe Root, or Toft, in the final.